Energy price crisis: Liz Truss's decision to subsidise everyone rather than target the most vulnerable puts lives at risk – Brian Wilson

When politics as usual asserts itself, it will still be the same issue at the top of its agenda – the price of energy to households and businesses.

Prime Minister Liz Truss’s announcement of a price cap was very quickly overtaken by events. It may even have induced a false sense of security – things aren’t going to get worse, so stop worrying.

This is far from reality. A lack of detail around the subsidy to energy providers needs to be resolved before the bills start dropping. By common consent, they will still mean more than half of households being in fuel poverty by the time that winter hits.

Political failure to recognise the scale of this crisis six months ago meant that governments had no plans in place to meet it. Stupid talk about “no more hand-outs” then gave way to the blunt instrument of £150 billion to compensate suppliers.

Millions of people face fuel poverty this winter (Picture: Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images)

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However, this lack of preparedness became the excuse for a complete absence of targeting. Subsidising everyone – rather than those who most need it – makes no sense and is already pointing towards a great deal of human tragedy. Similarly, business owners have absolutely no certainty about what the future holds for them.

There is no more urgent political task than to put flesh on the bones of what has been announced, to go further as necessity demands – and to recognise that help must go where it is needed most. That really is a matter of life and death.


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