Energy crisis emergency is as large-scale as the pandemic say the TUC

The energy crisis is “an emergency of pandemic-scale”, according to a leading union body.

Today, the Trades Union Congress warned that energy bills could cost more than two months’ pay if nothing is done. Average take-home pay after tax is expected to be £2,054 per month, while annual energy bills are predicted to cost £4,200 on average.

The union body is asking for emergency funding support and a longer-term plan in order to prevent similar future crises.

It has requested that the government bring trade union and business leaders into the Treasury to devise an urgent response to the crisis together – in an approach that mirrors the start of the pandemic, which lead to the creation of the furlough scheme.


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Halting the energy price cap increase by having the government pay the difference in full (an estimated £38.5bn), increasing the minimum wage, universal credit and state pension rates in line with inflation, and funding significant pay rises in the public sector are among the TUC’s other recommendations.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “No one should struggle to get by in one of the richest countries in the world.”

“Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak need to wake up to the size of this crisis. This requires a large-scale intervention. Ministers must stop the fall-out from the dramatic rise in energy bills. And to make sure energy remains affordable to everyone, they should bring the energy retail companies into public ownership.”

Martin Lewis, a money saving expert, has also said that this crisis is similar to the pandemic and that the government must respond with the same urgency. He warns that “the government alone” can help by “putting money in people’s pockets”

This crisis has struck the UK more than a decade after the worst squeeze on wages in 200 years. It came at a time when many families were losing their hope.

The union body claims that the wage crisis has been “compounded by the shock to energy prices.” Instead of investing in energy efficiency and renewable power sources, a privatised energy market creamed off excess profits while leaving us all vulnerable to unstable global markets, the TUC claims.

The energy crisis has been a central topic in the leadership race between Rishi and Liz Truss. Truss, who initially said she would focus on tax-cuts and not financial ‘hand-outs’ to help those in need, has recently appeared to flip-flop and now claims she is “not ruling it out”. Sunak has offered a one-off payment of £650 to households struggling with the crisis.