Mike Foster warns of renewed energy concern following budget announcement

The latest Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt has announced that the government will reverse almost all of the tax cuts from the disastrous mini-budget.

New Prime Minister Liz Truss and the then Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng announced the mini budget on 23 September, which sent the pound plummeting and caused chaos in the financial markets. Despite claiming he was confident in remaining in his post, Kwarteng stepped away as Chancellor last week and was replaced by Hunt.

The main update for the heating, plumbing and electrical industry in Hunt’s economic plan was a suggestion of scrapping the energy price cap protection in April 2023. The mini budget set out protection for two years against spiralling energy bills, but Hunt said that the decision would be reviewed.

Mike Foster, CEO of the Energy and Utilities Alliance, said that it is concerning news: “News that the energy price cap protection is coming to an end in April will surprise and worry millions of hard-pressed families. Together with the announcement that promised tax cuts have also been withdrawn will heap huge financial pressure on those already struggling to pay their bills.

“The Treasury-led review to support families in the future looks like an excuse to cut support in these uncertain times, when we don’t know what energy prices will be. While all this is happening, the Government’s own Boiler Upgrade Scheme hands out £5000 subsidies to the well-off to change their heating, while millions struggle to pay their bills. It’s immoral in these difficult times and needs to be culled, with the money used more wisely.

“This reinforces our view that in the longer-term we need to switch away from fossil gas and switch our gas network to hydrogen. We can produce ourselves and free us from the global gas markets that the war in Ukraine has massively impacted.”