E.ON CEO grilled by Coburn on 'rigged' energy system
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Trained advisors are hosting one to ones with people at Post Offices across the UK. It comes as YouGov research carried out for British Gas shows 40 percent of adults will struggle to pay their next bill and of these, more than a third (35 percent) will suffer in silence.
The research also identified the emotional toll energy debt is causing with two-thirds (65 percent) of respondents reporting increased anxiety as a result of struggling to pay energy bills.
Stop the Silence Pop-Ups will offer advice in towns and cities across the country in May and June.
Debt advisors from British Gas Energy Trust will be in Glasgow, West Bromwich, Cardiff and London this week with more locations to be announced.
Jessica Taplin, British Gas Energy Trust Chief Executive said: “The Trust’s mission is to help alleviate the detrimental impact of poverty.
“Being visible in more local, familiar places like Post Offices enables us to reach even more people, especially as you don’t have to be British Gas customer to access the help and support offered at these pop ups.”
Post Office Chief Executive Nick Read said: “We know from what Postmasters tell us that there are people really struggling out there to pay their bills and they’re seeing customers come through their door for the first time asking what support is available for bill payments.
“We’re proud to be partnering with British Gas on such an important initiative.”
The scheme comes amid a cost of living crisis with households grappling with soaring energy prices caused in part by Russia’s war in Ukraine.
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Government has come under increasing pressure to help alleviate the financial strain while energy companies post sky-high profits.
The PM has insisted there will be more help to come, but has not said what support might be offered or when.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Simon Clarke said on Monday the Government is not ruling out a windfall tax on oil and gas firms if the companies fail to invest their profits into boosting capacity.
The Times reported the Government has been drawing up plans for a temporary levy on oil and gas companies to help ease a cost of living crisis.
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Mr Clarke told Times Radio: “We don’t want to have to do this but if we don’t see the sector reinvesting these profits into something productive for the real economy then all options are clearly on the table.”
Asked to confirm whether one option being looked at was a windfall tax which would be more lenient on firms that commit to investment, Clarke said he could not either confirm or deny specific proposals.
He said: “We are obviously looking at what needs to be done to support households at what is an exceptionally difficult time and a windfall tax is one of those options that is something that any responsible government would need to look at.”
Labour peer Lord Howarth of Newport, stressing the urgency of the issue in Parliament, said: “We know that there is worse to come, but do we not need decision and action now?
“The cost of living crisis is with us now, hitting the poorest the hardest, with one in five households already in fuel poverty and two million adults who cannot afford to eat every day.
“Procrastination is inexcusable and it is insufferable that action is delayed because of bickering between No 10 and No 11.
“Will the Government immediately increase benefits in line with actual inflation?”
Benefits rose by 3.1 percent in April while inflation hit a 40-year high of nine percent.
Tory frontbencher Baroness Penn said the Government was providing support worth more than £22 billion this year to help families.
She added: “It is worth remembering that the household support fund is open, it is ready, it is there for people to access.
“It is also worth remembering that National Insurance thresholds will increase in July, putting more money back into the pockets of the lowest-income households. It is also worth remembering that the rebate on people’s energy bills, worth £200, is yet to come. It will come in October.
“We are keeping the situation under review, we are standing ready to do more, but more action is already committed to by the Government that will flow through to people’s pockets over the coming weeks and months.”
For more about Stop the Silence Pop-Ups visit britishgasenergytrust.co.uk or postoffice.co.uk
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