Martin Lewis has urged Tory leadership hopefuls to take action on eye-watering energy prices and “forestall the mental damage” debts will cause.
The consumer champion who founded MoneySavingExpert.com said the situation with energy bills is reaching a “desperate” stage, and will impact on millions of households. He also warned the situation needed to be solved before the handover of power takes place in early September, with energy bills due to rise.
This comes as energy bills are projected to reach almost £4,000 despite British Gas owner Centrica taking in strong profits of £1.34bn, up from £262m, a year earlier. Shell also reported record profits of $11.5bn for the second quarter.
Lewis told BBC Radio4’s Today Programme: “It’s going to throw many households into a terribly difficult financial situation.”
He said he’d “never seen anything like this”, and families will have to make “some awful choices” between heating and eating.
“Year-on-year from last October to this October a typical house will be paying £2,300 a year more on their energy bills alone. Forget the rises in mobile and broadband and tax and everything else and petrol and food,”
“People will be panicking, it will be desperate.”
He appealed to incumbent prime minister and Conservative leadership candidates Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss, to take urgent action, despite the government’s policy to give every household an energy bill discount of £400 in Autumn,
“Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss, Boris Johnson, if you’re listening, please, go and sit in a room together, make a collective decision now of what help you can give and make an announcement now to forestall the mental damage that is coming across the country,” he said.
“There needs to be action now.”
UK energy bills increased by £700 in April and are likely to keep rising, in part due to the worldwide pressures on fuel, due to the war in Ukraine.
A spokesperson for Rishi Sunak’s team told City A.M.: “This is really serious, so of course he will sit down and discuss with colleagues when we know for certain how much bills will go up (we’ll know next month).
” Rishi has stepped in before to provide people with support and people can take comfort that as Prime Minister he would ensure the most vulnerable in our society get the help they need”
Liz Truss’ campaign teams has also been asked for comment.