So many people across Rye and our surrounding villages are understandably worried about how they are going to make ends meet this winter. I know so many of our brilliant community and church groups are working tirelessly to support our community, but I hear from so many people they are worried sick about how they’ll pay the bills now, let alone when the next energy bills hike in October comes. From one month to the next, there just isn’t enough to get to the next pay day and everything from food to energy is going up.
Labour wouldn’t let people pay a penny more on their winter fuel bills. Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves have put forward a fully-funded £29bn plan that would freeze energy bills for all domestic energy customers, increase the windfall tax on the oil and gas producers, and create new jobs by insulating nineteen million homes.
These plans would prevent the energy price cap rising through the winter, and they would be paid for by an extra tax on oil and gas giants who are making eye-watering profits. This would save the typical family in Rye £1,000 now, help get energy costs under control for the future and also reduce inflation. Freezing the price cap will bring inflation down by 4%, making future interest rate rises less likely and easing the burden on households and our local businesses.
This crisis is particularly acute for many of our local rural communities. Our Labour plan will also benefit all off-grid homes as equally as others, saving many families across rural Rother communities money off their energy bill. Off-grid residents in places like Guestling Green have faced rocketing fuel costs due to the sharp rise in cost of heating oil, but were controversially completely forgotten from the government’s announcements this year.
The bold and fully-funded emergency package we have announced would also reduce energy demand, lower bills and emissions in the longer term, and create new jobs by insulating homes across the country. We originally urged the government to implement this plan a year ago. Insulating our homes is key to lowering bills while also tackling our climate emergency by lowering emissions. If they’d acted, they could have insulated two million of the coldest homes by this winter – but action has been too slow.
Worryingly, this Tory government are asleep at the wheel and the two candidates for prime minister have no plan to address the scale of this crisis. Our Conservative MP is out rallying support for Rishi Sunak while people struggle. Only Labour can give Britain the fresh start that it needs.
Our existing policies would also secure our energy supply to make sure we’re protected against future shocks and build Britain’s energy independence. Labour would stop bills rising now, and create sustainable energy for the future – helping people get through the winter while providing the foundations for a stronger, more secure and greener economy.
I know that the coming months are likely to be very difficult for so many in our community. I will be out regularly speaking to residents on your street or high street, so do come and share your experiences if you see me or get in touch.
Helena Dollimore is Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Hastings and Rye
Image Credits: Geoff Wilson .