Rising energy bills – no help for pensioners in the Queen’s Speech

Sarah Coles, host for Hargreaves Lansdown’s Switch Your Money On, reflects on the Queen’s Speech and more importantly what was missing.
rising energy bills
No help to meet the cost of rising energy bills and no emergency Budget.

Rising energy bills

There was a brief mention that the government would prioritise helping to ease the cost of living for families, but then no actual bills announced outlining how. This is likely to fuel ongoing rumours of a potential emergency Budget.

The only energy bill which got a mention was the government’s plan for the transition to green energy. It’s worth noting that part of this bill is likely to cover the future of the energy price cap beyond next year. When it consulted on the options, it suggested that the cap might be updated more regularly, so the industry isn’t so badly affected during times of energy price hikes, and bill-payers benefit more quickly when prices drop back.

No protection from rising energy bills

Technically, during some periods this would leave us better off, but in the short-term it would be likely to mean prices rise more quickly. Alternatively, Ofgem could be given the right to hike bills in the middle of a capped period if we see the kinds of shocks to the energy market we’ve seen recently.

We did see some movement on the government’s promise to protect access to cash, because the Financial Services and Markets Bill will cover high street branches and cash machines. Of course, an awful lot will depend on how far this goes, and whether it will be enough to protect the most vulnerable people who rely on cash.

There was good news for scam victims, because the Financial Services and Markets Bill will oblige banks to repay the victims of so-called ‘authorised push payment’ fraud. This is where a criminal convinces you to transfer money into their account. Often they’ll call, pretending to be from your bank, warning that your account is being targeted by scammers, and they’ll persuade you to move your money into a ‘safe account’.

In reality this account belongs to the scammers, who disappear with your money. This kind of fraud has mushroomed in recent years – growing 71% in the first half of 2021 alone to £355 million. This change will hopefully help ensure that one small mistake doesn’t rob people of their financial security forever.

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Tags: Last modified: May 11, 2022

Written by 9:30 am News & Views, Finance