Martin Lewis warns of ‘frightening’ bill changes in letter

Martin Lewis has warned of “frightening” rises in bills to come this April in a letter that he sent to the Government.

The Money Saving Expert founder penned a lengthy letter addressed to the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt asking him to “urgently consider” the proposed 20% increase for bills coming into force in April this year. He warned that the decision could be even more damaging amidst the crippling cost of living crisis.

The consumer champion predicted that bills rising in April could plummet 1.7 million households into fuel poverty. This would be a drastic rise ton he number from an already “shocking” 6.7 million to 8.4 million.

READ MORE: Martin Lewis says anyone with a mobile phone can send two texts to save hundreds

Martin posted to Twitter on February 9, sharing a copy of his letter to his 2.1 million followers. He added that his words had been backed by major charities.

He said: “I have just sent the Chancellor @Jeremy_Hunt – supported by major charities – a letter asking him to postpone the government’s 20% increase in energy bills on 1 April. The letter is at attached (plus supplementary explanation) please read and feel free to share.”

The letter read: “In your November Autumn Statement you announced a 20% increase of the energy price guarantee (EPG) – the state-subsidised energy rate – from April. This will increase energy bills yet again for almost every home across England, Scotland and Wales. This comes at the same time that the £400 energy bills support scheme comes to an end.

“Yet things have changed since then, and I would ask you to urgently consider postponing that increase. This cannot wait until the Budget – in practice, energy firms will need to know much sooner if the planned rise isn’t happening on 1 April, or they are bound to have to communicate to customers that it is coming.”

Martin added: “This decision to increase prices was made at a time when wholesale rates were looking to be far higher than they are now. In fact, on current predictions the EPG subsidy may well only be needed from April to July. After that, the underlying price cap currently looks like it may be cheaper than even the current EPG rate of £2,500 a year for a typical household.

“This means the provisioned Government expenditure on the energy subsidy will be billions less than expected when the plans were made, giving significant headroom to enable a postponement. Plus, maintaining a lower EPG will also help reduce inflation.”

“While the EPG isn’t perfect, as it’s not targeted, it is the method the Government currently uses to support people. Postponing the increase is a practical and fair decision, with household energy bills already double what they were the prior winter. Crucially, the damage to people’s pockets and mental health of another round of energy price rise letters is disproportionate.”

Martin then warned: “Without intervention, and soon, the charity National Energy Action predicts that the number of fuel poor households will rise drastically from an already shocking 6.7 million to 8.4 million from April – approaching double the 4.5 million households in this position in October 2021.’ That is a frightening statistic.

“There is widespread support for this move, which the likes of Citizens Advice, Fair By Design, National Energy Action, and StepChange agree with. I trust you’ll consider this change and I look forward to receiving your response.”

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