Leader: Lack of leadership is failing millions

One in four UK adults is planning not to turn their heating on this winter because of the soaring cost of energy bills, according to a survey released today.

The shortage of gas in Europe could even lead to power blackouts, one expert has warned.

Consumers are just over a month away from seeing typical household gas and electricity bills rocket to £3,549 a year.

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Yet the writing has been on the wall for the UK's energy market since the West was forced to respond to Russian president Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine more than six months ago.

Protesters outside the Ofgem HQ in Canary Wharf, London, last week after the regulator confirmed an 80.06 per cent rise in the energy price cap, sending the average household's yearly bill from £1,971 to £3,549 from October. Photo: James Manning/PA Wire
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It is only now – as millions of consumers and business owners face the prospect of being plunged into fuel poverty – that reality seems to be starting to bite.

The nation has every right to demand why political leadership has been so tragically lacking through the course of this crisis so far.

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Boris Johnson may be a lame duck prime minister, but he remains in office while the UK faces crippling bills following an 80 per cent rise in the energy price cap in October.

It is simply not good enough to assert, as he did at the weekend, glibly and with Micawberish conviction, that something will turn up; that the nation will “bounce back” to enjoy the sunlit uplands of a “golden future”.

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Action is needed now. Sadly, it is no exaggeration to state that people will die this winter who would not have done so had they not felt compelled to cut back on their heating.

The UK government has given the impression of a zombie administration as the Conservative Party’s leadership contest has dragged on through the summer.

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The two candidates vying for Mr Johnson’s job cannot focus their energies solely on easing the crisis as they must, above all, secure the keys for Number 10. That means winning a popularity contest with Tory Party members.

Liz Truss has said she would not provide more univeral direct support, favouring tax cuts instead. Rishi Sunak would give extra support to the most vulnerable.

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It is welcome that both at least recognise the need to do something. Both, however, have had ample time to come up with solid proposals long before this point.

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