Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves said ‘millions are feeling the pinch’ from soaring costs of living ‘with older people feeling the hit from rising energy prices especially hard’
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Pensioners could be hit by £341-a-year increases to energy bills as analysis shows older people face higher costs.
New research found people over 65 spend pay twice as much per week on energy as the under-30s – and face being clobbered by rising energy costs.
Pensioners spend £15 per week per person on energy, compared to £8 for those aged 30 to 49 and £7 for those under 30, according to analysis of Office for National Statistics figures by Labour.
The average spend was £10 per person per week across all households.
And pensioners’ bills could rise by £341 per year per person when the energy price cap increases in April.
Estimates from the House of Commons Library suggest the energy price cap, which has already risen by 12%, may go up by 26-29% in April.
Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves said older people were being hit hard by rising energy prices as millions were “feeling the pinch” amid rising costs of food and fuel.
The analysis also showed that a higher proportion of older people live in the least energy efficiency households.
Some 17% of households where the oldest person was aged 60 or older lived in homes in three least efficient bands (E-G) compared to 10% where no one was aged 60 or older.
The rate was even higher at 20% for households where someone was aged 75 or older
It comes amid Tory unrest over the looming National Insurance hike coupled with the rising cost of living.
Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg reportedly told the Cabinet that the National Insurance hike should be scrapped – while Brexit Minister Lord Frost resigned last month citing high taxation as a major concern.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said he understands “people’s anxiety and concern about rising prices and inflation” but defended the decision to increase NI contributions from April to tackle the NHS backlog.
“I have enormous respect for all my colleagues and if you take a step back and look back at why we’re in this situation, it’s because we’re facing an unprecedented level of backlogs in the NHS and we as a Government don’t think it’s acceptable, we don’t want families to be waiting years and years to get the treatment they need,” he told reporters on Thursday.
“It’s always easy to duck difficult decisions but I don’t think that’s the responsible thing to do.”
Labour is proposing to cut VAT on domestic energy bills – a move Boris Johnson rejected as a “bit of a blunt instrument” at a press conference this week.
Ms Reeves said: “With costs of food and fuel soaring, millions are feeling the pinch, with older people feeling the hit from rising energy prices especially hard.
” Labour would immediately cut VAT on domestic energy bills to ease the burden on households during winter.
“Given they’ve just loaded working people with the biggest tax burden in seventy years this Conservative government should get a grip and tackle this crisis – but instead they just continue to sit back complacently, trapping us in a high tax, low growth economy.”
A Government spokesperson said: “We are taking decisive action to help more than 11.4 million pensioners with the cost of living by providing Winter Fuel Payments of up to £300 per household.
“This is on top of wider support which includes reducing the universal credit taper – a tax cut worth over £2 billion – supporting households with their bills through the Energy Price Cap, Warm Home Discount Scheme, weather-payments-2019-what-13874235>Cold Weather Payments, and Household Support Fund, as well as freezing alcohol and fuel duty.”
It comes as separate research suggested one million more people will pay the higher tax rate by 2026.
The analysis by the House of Commons Library – first published in The Daily Telegraph – says around 1.2 million additional workers will find their earnings going over the 40% tax threshold as a result of the Government’s decision to freeze the personal tax allowance and higher rate tax threshold.
Almost 1.5 million more people will be brought into paying the basic level of income tax.
The Liberal Democrats, who commissioned the research, called on the Government to drop its “stealth-tax raid” that will “clobber families who are already feeling the pinch.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.