82% of people want government to implement energy bill freeze, poll finds

Elliot Chappell
© OgnjenO/Shutterstock.com

Eight in ten people have said that they want the government to intervene and freeze the energy price cap at the current £1,971 per year rather than allow bills to rise to £3,549 from October, according to a new poll.

Following the announcement from regulator Ofgem last week that average yearly gas and electricity bills will be allowed to rise to £3,549 from October, 82% of respondents to a poll commissioned by The Mirror and carried out by Deltapoll said they want the government to freeze the price cap at £1,971 a year.

The Labour Party said earlier this month that it would freeze gas and electricity prices immediately, keeping the energy price cap at its current level of £1,971 until April – a move it said would save the typical household £1,000.

The party said the proposal could be paid for by making changes to the windfall tax, including backdating the tax to include excess profits made since January and closing a loophole allowing tax relief on investment in the North Sea.

According to the poll today, 85% of Conservative voters surveyed said that they want the government to keep the energy price cap at its current level while 81% of Labour voters said the same.

One in four people reported that they will “definitely” not be able to afford the 80% rise in gas and electricity bills planned to take place in October. Another 40% said they would “probably” not be able to find the extra money.

92% of people told Deltapoll that they had suffered a cost-of-living rise in recent months, 34% said they would not be able to afford their bills within months, 12% said they were weeks away from being in the same situation while 11% told researchers that they are unable to afford their bills before the October increase.

Asked what they had done to mitigate the rise in the cost of living, nearly half of those surveyed said they had stayed at home more to save money, more than four in ten had bought fewer clothes, a quarter had cancelled non-essential outgoings such as TV subscriptions and 18% had scrapped holiday plans.

According to the research, which saw Deltapoll interview 1,600 adults between August 26th and 30th, 12% said they had borrowed money from a friend or family, while 9% said they had been putting essential items on their credit card.

Commenting on the poll, Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves said: “These numbers are incredibly concerning, especially with families already consumed by worry about how they’ll get through the winter with bills through the roof.

“This zombie Tory government needs to get back to work now, their lack of action is frankly appalling and a dereliction of duty.”

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said the research showed that “millions are worried sick” about the rising costs and called on ministers to “come out of hiding and immediately cancel the catastrophic rise to energy bills”.

44% of people also told Deltapoll that they would vote Labour if a general election were held now, up from 43% on the organisation’s poll last week. 31% said they would back the Conservatives while 12% reported that they would vote Lib Dem.

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