Rishi Sunak facing renewed pressure over plans to ‘max out’ North Sea oil

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Rishi Sunak offers huge fossil fuel subsidies to develop fossil fuel extraction in UK.
Rishi Sunak offers huge fossil fuel subsidies to develop fossil fuel extraction in UK.

www.theguardian.com/environment/2024/jan/21/rishi-sunak-facing-renewed-pressure-over-plans-to-max-out-north-sea-oil

Dithering on renewable energy and insulation will leave people in Britain ‘colder and poorer’, campaigners warn

Rishi Sunak is facing further attacks on his plans to expand oil and gas exploration in the North Sea this week. The Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill – to be debated in the Commons on Monday – has already triggered widespread protests, including the resignation of Chris Skidmore, a former Conservative energy minister.

The bill aims to boost fossil fuel extraction by establishing a new system under which licences for North Sea oil and gas projects will be awarded annually.

Green groups and analysts are lining up to criticise it. UpLift, which campaigns for green energy, pointed out that the bill, which the government says will “max out” the UK’s reserves, will actually result in only a 2% rise in North Sea gas output. “The remaining 98% of gas demand will come from existing North Sea fields,” its analysis finds.

“Sunak, like his predecessor Liz Truss, is obsessing over oil and gas, but dithering on renewables and insulation which will boost UK energy security and lower bills,” said Tessa Khan, executive director of UpLift. “And it’s making people in this country colder and poorer.”

www.theguardian.com/environment/2024/jan/21/rishi-sunak-facing-renewed-pressure-over-plans-to-max-out-north-sea-oil

Image of InBedWithBigOil by Not Here To Be Liked + Hex Prints from Just Stop Oil's You May Find Yourself... art auction. Featuring Rishi Sunak, Fossil Fuels and Rupert Murdoch.
Image of InBedWithBigOil by Not Here To Be Liked + Hex Prints from Just Stop Oil’s You May Find Yourself… art auction. Featuring Rishi Sunak, Fossil Fuels and Rupert Murdoch.
Continue ReadingRishi Sunak facing renewed pressure over plans to ‘max out’ North Sea oil

Energy price cap rise will ‘hammer households even harder’ this year, union body warns

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https://leftfootforward.org/2024/01/energy-price-cap-rise-will-hammer-households-even-harder-this-year-union-body-warns/

Image of cash and pre-payment meter key
Image of cash and pre-payment meter key

The leading trade union body has slammed government policy for benefiting corporate profiteering at the expense of household bills, leading renewed calls to nationalise the energy sector after the 5% energy price cap rise.

Households will be ‘hammered even harder’ in 2024 the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has said, as the Ofgem price cap rise came into effect from January 1, which will see households across the country face a 5% increase in their energy bill.

It has led to further warnings from charities about struggling households facing another cold start to the year and renewed calls for government support to help households struggling with their energy bills.

“No one should struggle to get by in one of the richest countries in the world,” said TUC General Secretary Paul Nowak.

“But 13 years of wage stagnation and cuts to social security have left millions badly exposed to sky-high bills this winter.”

With energy bills already 50% higher than two years ago, Nowak said the price cap rise will only “hammer households even harder in the coming year”.

Warm This Winter, a coalition of 50 leading UK charities, warned of the effects the government’s inaction at tackling the energy crisis will have across services.  

“Failure to avert this cold homes crisis will lead to pressure on the NHS, a mental health catastrophe and additional winter deaths caused by living in cold damp homes,” said Fiona Waters, Warm This Winter spokesperson.

https://leftfootforward.org/2024/01/energy-price-cap-rise-will-hammer-households-even-harder-this-year-union-body-warns/

Continue ReadingEnergy price cap rise will ‘hammer households even harder’ this year, union body warns

1,000,000 children living in most extreme poverty as figure almost trebles since 2017, report finds

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Image of cash and pre-payment meter key
Image of cash and pre-payment meter key

https://leftfootforward.org/2023/10/1000000-children-living-in-most-extreme-poverty-as-figure-almost-trebles-since-2017-report-finds/

A damning new report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) on the scale of destitution in the UK, has found that more than a million children experienced the most extreme form of poverty last year, with the figure almost trebling since 2017.

The report – the fourth in a series of Destitution in the UK studies published regularly in recent years, also revealed that almost 4 million people experienced destitution in 2022. Destitution is when people cannot afford to meet their most basic physical needs to stay warm, dry, clean and fed.

The damning figures shame us as a nation, with the rise in levels of destitution down to the cost of living crisis, low incomes as well as high levels of debt. The JRF report also highlighted how the social security system is failing to protect people from destitution, with almost three quarters (72%) of those destitute being in receipt of benefits.

The number of people experiencing destitution has increased by 61% since the last Destitution in the UK survey in 2019, an increase of almost two-and-a-half times (148%) compared to 2017. The report stated: “Single people of working age continue to be the worst-affected group by far, but for the first time in 2022 around a million children were living in households that experienced destitution. The shocking statistics revealed in this report reflect a social security system now so full of holes that it falls to charities – such as food banks – to try to prevent people from experiencing the worst of destitution, but the task is too great for them.

https://leftfootforward.org/2023/10/1000000-children-living-in-most-extreme-poverty-as-figure-almost-trebles-since-2017-report-finds/

1.20pm: From the report:

The study findings emphasise the need for urgent action to address the profoundly detrimental impact of
living in destitution and prevent more people experiencing this most severe form of material hardship.
Destitution impacts on health, mental health and people’s prospects. At a societal level, it puts strain on

already overstretched services. It is morally unacceptable that people have to rely on food banks and other
voluntary efforts to meet their basic physical needs. We need a stronger state safety net providing crisis
support to everyone experiencing destitution, regardless of where they live or who they are, with cash-first
assistance and ready access to free high-quality advice. While this would make an immediate difference to
those most in need, we need bolder action to address the drivers of destitution, starting with a commitment
to ending destitution in the UK and moving on to ‘design out’ destitution from our social security and
immigration systems.

Continue Reading1,000,000 children living in most extreme poverty as figure almost trebles since 2017, report finds

Millions of households’ face fuel poverty as government support scheme ends, warns charity

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https://leftfootforward.org/2023/07/millions-of-households-face-fuel-poverty-as-government-support-scheme-ends-warns-charity/

‘Without more support too many will continue to rack up unmanageable debts or try and survive in unheated homes causing ill health, misery, and avoidable death.’

Image of cash and pre-payment meter key
Image of cash and pre-payment meter key

The National Energy Action (NAE), which works to provide support to those who cannot afford to heat their home, says around 6.6 million households across Britain will be in fuel poverty. The charity warns that despite cost-of-living payments for households on mean-tested benefits, vulnerable families will not receive any government support.

The charity cautions that households who aren’t on qualifying benefits – or aren’t on benefits at all – will miss out. This may include people who are severely in debt, those on low incomes who need to spend more energy at home due their disability or the inefficiency of their homes, unpaid carers, households on low incomes who have seen a drop in their incomes due to a recent bereavement, or households that, until this year, were eligible for wider assistance from programmes like the Warm Home Discount but are now no longer able to access energy rebates. 

Adam Scorer, chief executive of the NEA, warns that despite retail prices falling from July, many of the people the charity helps are still struggling. Scorer notes how two-thirds of households across Britain will no longer benefit from any assistance to offset the impacts of the energy crisis and Ofgem’s price cap will offer ‘limited protection to these households.’

“Millions of vulnerable people miss out on cost-of-living payments as they aren’t on the right benefits or no benefits at all. These people need additional help but are being left to manage bills that are still on average over £1,000 per year more expensive compared to the start of the crisis,” said Scorer.

https://leftfootforward.org/2023/07/millions-of-households-face-fuel-poverty-as-government-support-scheme-ends-warns-charity/

Continue ReadingMillions of households’ face fuel poverty as government support scheme ends, warns charity

Food inflation up by almost 20%

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Banknotes and a prepayment meter key

https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/b/food-inflation-up-by-almost-20-per-cent

Food prices set to overtake energy bills as cost-of-living crisis ‘epicentre’, report warns

FOOD inflation is up almost 20 per cent on this time last year, new Office for National Statistics showed today.

The consumer prices index (CPI) inflation fell to its lowest level for more than a year last month – but at 8.7 per cent still outstripped average wage increases.

The decline from 10.1 per cent in March was largely down to energy prices stabilising after the sky-high rises from a year ago.

But it was higher than forecast by economists, who had pencilled in a drop to 8.2 per cent in April.

The figures showed food inflation is at 19.3 per cent, down only slightly on March’s 19.6 per cent and remaining close to the highest rate for more than 45 years.

https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/b/food-inflation-up-by-almost-20-per-cent

Continue ReadingFood inflation up by almost 20%

Labour’s biggest union backer calls on party to nationalise energy sector

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Image of cash and pre-payment meter key

https://leftfootforward.org/2023/05/labours-biggest-union-backer-calls-on-party-to-nationalise-energy-sector/

Kier Starmer will be urged to reconsider Labour’s policy on renationalising the energy sector this week by Labour’s biggest financial backer Unite the union.  

Billions could be cut from average household bills if the sector was brought back into public ownership, the union has argued, putting an end to the current system which has led to “rampant profiteering” by energy companies.   

Sharon Graham, Unite’s general secretary, is to urge Keir Starmer to reconsider Labour policy on nationalising the energy sector since the party leader U-turned on previous plans to nationalise the energy, mail and water industries.

The Labour party has promised to renationalise the rail system and to create a new, publicly-owned clean energy company to push for green energy.

But average energy bills could have been cut by £1,800 last year if the sector was fully nationalised, saving bill payers £45 billion, which is the amount companies made in profit from the UK domestic energy system in 2022, the latest report by Unite has revealed.

https://leftfootforward.org/2023/05/labours-biggest-union-backer-calls-on-party-to-nationalise-energy-sector/

Continue ReadingLabour’s biggest union backer calls on party to nationalise energy sector

Shell slammed over eye-watering profits amidst cost of living crisis

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https://leftfootforward.org/2023/05/shell-slammed-over-eye-watering-profits-amidst-cost-of-living-crisis/

“One of the corporate scandals of our times”

Earlier this week, BP announced it had secured £4 billion in profits in the first three months of 2023. Today, another fossil fuel giant has confirmed its staggering profits. Shell made record breaking profits of £7.6 billion in the first quarter of the year.

The news has been met with outrage from trade unions who have slammed the government for not taking action on energy firm profiteering in the middle of a cost of living crisis partially driven by high energy bills.

TUC general secretary Paul Nowak said: “These sky-high profits beg the question – will the government ever have the backbone to tax the energy giants properly? While families across Britain have struggled to heat their homes, Shell have enjoyed a record cash bonanza.

“Our energy market is fundamentally broken. Struggling households shouldn’t be lining the pockets of shareholders and fat cat CEOs. We could all have lower bills if government taxed excessive profits, introduced a social tariff and created public ownership of new clean power. It’s time to end the energy racket.”

https://leftfootforward.org/2023/05/shell-slammed-over-eye-watering-profits-amidst-cost-of-living-crisis/

Continue ReadingShell slammed over eye-watering profits amidst cost of living crisis

Ofgem’s new rules ‘fail to deal’ with energy debt facing struggling households

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Image of cash and pre-payment meter key

https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/b/ofgems-new-rules-fail-deal-energy-debt-facing-struggling-households

OFGEM’S new prepayment meter rules “fail to deal” with the energy debt mountain facing struggling households, campaigners have warned, as the watchdog revealed a new code of practice for suppliers today.

The body said that energy firms in England, Scotland and Wales had agreed to the code, which includes a ban on forcibly installing prepayment meters in the homes of people over the age of 85.

End Fuel Poverty Coalition coordinator Simon Francis also said the code does not go far enough, and that the voluntary aspect “undermines its objective.”

He said: “There are really vulnerable groups which have been omitted from its full protection and we have serious concerns about how it will be implemented, such as how people will prove their medical conditions without being humiliated by an energy firm health inspection.

“The plans also fail to deal with the elephant in the room — the growing household energy debt mountain.”

https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/b/ofgems-new-rules-fail-deal-energy-debt-facing-struggling-households

Continue ReadingOfgem’s new rules ‘fail to deal’ with energy debt facing struggling households

Jeremy Corbyn: Labour should be defending democracy, not debasing it

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Jeremy Corbyn MP, former leader of the Labour Party

https://www.islingtontribune.co.uk/article/jeremy-corbyn-labour-should-be-defending-democracy-not-debasing-it

When I became Leader, I was proud to be part of a movement that gave its members a voice, fought for a politics of redistribution and anti-imperialism, and mobilised a new generation of voters to believe that a better world was possible.

The decision to block my candidacy is an insult to the millions of people who voted for our Party in 2017 and 2019, and to all those who voted for his leadership on the basis that he would “defend [the] radical values” we put forward.

Keir Starmer has abandoned his pledges to defend trade unions, bring key industries into public ownership, reverse NHS privatisation, raise corporation tax, protect free movement and abolish tuition fees. Solidarity is now saved for CEOs, not striking workers. Trust is placed in corporate interests, not party members.

Human rights issues are cherry picked at the expense of a consistently ethical foreign policy. And empathy for desperate refugees is eschewed to appease the right-wing press.

As the government plunges millions into hardship, Keir Starmer has decided to attack the democratic foundations of his own party and the principles he once proclaimed to support.

However, just because the Labour leader has abandoned his faith in a better world doesn’t mean the rest of the labour movement should follow. There is huge demand for a more hopeful alternative: decent pay rises, democratic public ownership, housing for all, a wealth tax to save our NHS, and a humane immigration system grounded in dignity, empathy and care.

https://www.islingtontribune.co.uk/article/jeremy-corbyn-labour-should-be-defending-democracy-not-debasing-it

Continue ReadingJeremy Corbyn: Labour should be defending democracy, not debasing it

Scotland generates record-breaking renewable energy

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Shetland’s biggest Wind Turbine Image © Copyright Andy Waddington and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

https://energydigital.com/articles/scotland-generates-record-breaking-renew able-energy

According to official data, Scotland broke previous records by generating 35.3TWh of renewable electricity in 2022, marking a 28.1% increase from 2021 and 9.8% from 2020. This amount of electricity could power all households in Scotland for over three years. The fourth quarter of 2022 saw the largest increase in renewable electricity generation in Scotland’s history, rising by 14%.

Between September and December 2022, the renewable electricity capacity grew from 13.6GW to 13.8GW. In addition, Scotland’s net electricity exports increased by 17% to 18.7TWh in 2022, with a wholesale market value of approximately £4 billion.

Wind energy was the primary contributor to Scotland’s renewable electricity generation in 2022, accounting for 27.5TWh. Of this amount, 5.8TWh came from offshore wind, while 21.8TWh was generated from onshore wind.

https://energydigital.com/articles/scotland-generates-record-breaking-renewable-energy

Continue ReadingScotland generates record-breaking renewable energy