Sir Keir Starmer backs Keep Us Warm This Winter campaign

Labour leader Sir Keir has given his backing to the Keep Us Warm This Winter campaign.

Launched last week by this newspaper – along with other JPIMedia titles nationally – it aims to ensure readers have the information they need and to offer guidance on how they can cope with the winter ahead.

Concern over rising energy prices has left many fearing this winter could be the toughest in recent memory.

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A sharp rise in the price of wholesale gas has come just before energy regulator Ofgem’s price cap for suppliers is raised.

Sir Keir Starmer backed the campaign during a visit to Worthing on Mo

The price cap was introduced in January, 2019, and since then most energy firms have based default-tariff prices on the price cap’s rate.

Pressure on wholesale gas prices has come from last winter being colder than usual in Europe, which meant the amount of stored gas was lower before a more recent increase in demand from Asian countries – which had also endured a cold winter.

Amid the concerns and with winter approaching, nobody should face the choice between eating or heating.

Labour leader Sir Keir is in Sussex for the Labour Party conference in Brighton. He visited Worthing today (Monday, September 27) and gave his backing to the campaign.

This newspaper is part of JPIMedia's national 'Keep us Warm this Winter' campaign.

Sir Keir said: “I support the campaign, I think it is really important this winter that people don’t see their energy prices going up. It’s going to be very difficult for many many families as it is.

“Food prices have already gone up, tax is going to go up, lots of families on universal credit are going to struggle with the cuts the government is putting in place, so we mustn’t allow fuel bills and energy bills to go up, it’s a big chunk of people’s income and what they spend out every month.

“Your campaign is the right campaign and we’ll challenge the government on it.”

Concern about rising fuel prices has also been raised by charity The Trussell Trust, which runs a number of food banks across Sussex. Garry Lemon, director of policy at the Trussell Trust, said: “The news about soaring fuel prices underlines just how devastating the £20 a week cut to Universal Credit will be for millions of families on low incomes.

“Our research shows that more than 1.3 million people on Universal Credit already fear they’ll struggle to switch on the heating this winter if the UK government goes ahead with this cut – and worryingly, some 670,000 people say it’s very likely they won’t be able to afford to switch on their oven to cook hot food. These numbers could be even higher when combined with rising energy costs – but it’s not too late for the government to make a U-turn on the cut and ensure our social security system provides people with enough money to cover the essentials, like food and heating.

“At the very least we’re saying this October, the UK government must choose to protect people and choose to keep the £20 a week lifeline.”