‘Absurd absence of leadership’ by Westminster ‘truly unforgivable’, says Liz Saville Roberts
Plaid Cymru’s Westminster leader, Liz Saville Roberts MP, has today (Thursday 25 August) called on the UK government to return the price cap to pre-April levels. The party also called for the price cap to be extended to small businesses and charities, which are currently excluded, and for financial support for vulnerable households to be doubled.
Plaid Cymru says that the policy could be paid for by backdating the windfall tax on oil and gas. They add that the current crisis should act as a “wake-up call” for policymakers in Westminster, and argue that the only long-term solution is to “bring the big five energy companies into public hands and to radically increase investment in green energy and home insulation”.
Ms Saville Roberts criticised Tory leadership candidates Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak for “sleepwalking into a catastrophic energy crisis”, adding that without urgent action by the Westminster government to reduce bills, “people will suffer in a way that should be unimaginable in a 21st Century advanced economy”.
Liz Saville Roberts MP said:
“We are sleepwalking into a catastrophic energy crisis with millions of people facing destitution this winter. Yet our so-called leaders in Westminster are too busy navel-gazing to notice. The absurd absence of leadership during this crisis is truly unforgivable.
“The people of Wales don’t care who is crowned Prime Minister in a fortnight. What they do care about is what Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak will do to reduce their sky-high costs. A vague commitment to a ‘fiscal event’ is not enough.
“Plaid Cymru is calling on the UK Government to return the price cap to pre-April levels for both standard-variable tariff and pre-payment meters. That is the only way to protect struggling families.
“Small businesses such as corner shops, farms and food suppliers are facing rocketing bills and will not be protected by a price cap. Plaid Cymru is therefore backing the Federation of Small Businesses’ call for the price cap to be extended to small businesses and charities.
“The £650 cost-of-living payment must be doubled, and its eligibility criteria revised to include those on disability benefits, who are currently excluded.
“To pay for this, the windfall tax on oil and gas companies must be extended and backdated. Fossil fuel profits have reached grotesque levels, with energy bosses making billions on the back of the poorest.
“Many of our communities are already on the brink of destitution, only surviving thanks to the generosity of foodbanks and local community organisations. Without urgent action by the Westminster government to reduce bills, people will suffer in a way that should be unimaginable in a 21st Century advanced economy.
“This crisis should also be a wake-up call to Westminster about the instability and vulnerability of our energy systems. Plaid Cymru is clear that a key long-term solution to avoid future energy crises is to bring the big five energy companies into public hands and to radically increase investment in green energy and home insulation. Let us not forget that Wales presently produces twice the energy we consume, yet we pay higher standing charges for electricity. The time must come for Wales to benefit fully from the value of what we produce and export.”
Plaid Cymru’s Five Point Plan
In the absence of action from Westminster, Plaid Cymru has a plan:
- Lower and freeze the energy price cap: Return the price cap to the pre-April levels for both standard-variable tariff (£1,277) and pre-payment meters (£1,309).
- Extend the cap to small businesses and charities: Extend the price cap to small businesses and charities who are currently not covered.
- Additional financial support for vulnerable households: Doubling the £650 cost-of-living payment. Revising the eligibility criteria for the cost-of-living payment to include those on disability benefits, such as PIP and DLA, who are currently excluded.
- Backdate and extend the windfall tax on oil and gas: Plaid Cymru have joined calls by other opposition parties to expand the current windfall tax. The tax could also be expanded to other utility companies.
- Energy in public hands: The only long-term solution to the crisis is to bring the big five energy companies into public hands, increase investment in green energy, and a home insulation drive.
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