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U.K. Energy bill strike campaign gains support

Don’t Pay UK, a group with 100,000 online supporters, is calling on Brits not to pay their energy bills. With many facing a tough winter as energy prices rise, the campaign has struck a chord.

Don’t Pay UK says it will only go ahead with a payment strike if it reaches 1 million pledges by October 1, the date energy regulators Ofgem are set to raise the UK’s energy price cap. With almost 100,000 people signed up so far and the numbers doubling each week, this is well within their sights.

“We support it, even if we ourselves won’t have to make massive sacrifices,” says Kate from Hastings in southern England. “But we know people who will be hit hard by rising energy bills and this is about showing solidarity,” she told DW.

Launched after a Trade Union Congress demonstration in June, its founders say the group is an unfunded “grassroots movement” and is demanding energy suppliers reduce bills to what it calls an “affordable” level.

The energy price cap — a limit on the rate energy suppliers can charge for tariffs — was hiked a hefty 54% in February. The new cap level for average use customers is £1,971 (€2,328, $2,403), and Ofgem is expected to raise the cap to above £3,000 for the first time on October 1. It is expected to stay there until 2024 at the earliest.

Consulting firm Cornwall Insight forecast this week that the average bill would exceed £3,500 a year in the fall and estimates that it could reach £4,266 a year by early next year.

Fuel poverty beckons

More than half of households in the UK, about 15 million people, will have been pushed into fuel poverty — defined as having to spend over 10% of net income on fuel — by January 2023, according to a report by York academics. The report predicts that even with a £400 fuel rebate offered by the government, over 80% of large families, lone parents and pensioner couples will fall into fuel poverty.

“A new package of mitigations is urgently needed,” Professor Jonathan Bradshaw from the Social Policy research unit at the University of York said this week. “This should be the main preoccupation of the Conservative leadership candidates,” he added.

Full article: UK Energy Bill Strike Campaign Gains Support

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