'Nationalise energy companies to slash bills and save lives'

The Scottish Greens say there are warnings of a 'social emergency' facing the country.

Nationalise energy companies to slash bills and save lives, say Scottish Greens iStock

Five of the largest energy companies in the UK should be nationalised to cut energy bills and save lives, the UK Government has been told.

It comes ahead of the energy price cap rise in October, expected to reach over £3,600.

Nearly three quarters of gas and electricity in the UK is supplied by five companies.

They are British Gas/Centrica, E.ON, OVO, EDF and ScottishPower.

Taking them into public ownership would cost around £2.85bn, according to estimates by the Trades Union Congress.

In France, the Government paid €9.7bn to fully nationalise EDF (Électricité de France).

The Government there also forced EDF to cap wholesale price rises to 4% for a year.

Ministers in the UK are now facing calls to take similar measures.

In a six point recovery plan set out by the Scottish Greens, the party calls for the ‘Big Five’ energy companies in the UK to be taken into public ownership.

They also call for energy price cap rises to be reversed, taking prices back to the levels they were in October 2021.

The Government have also been urged to bring back the £20 Universal Credit uplift that was introduced during the pandemic, and double it.

Further, the party says that the national minimum wage should be raised and profitable corporations should face a windfall tax.

Scotland’s block-grant from Westminster should also be “inflation-proof”, the party argues.

Lorna Slater, Scottish Greens co-leader, warned of a “social emergency” if the cost of living situation continues.

“Energy policy needs to work for people and the planet, and currently it is failing both. It is not just a failure of the energy market, it is a failure of the entire system,” she said.

“Millions of people are being forced to choose between heating and eating, while fossil fuel giants are raking in record profits.

“Things can’t go on like this. If the UK Government allows it to continue then we will be looking at a social emergency beyond anything that this country has experienced for generations.

“So many of the fundamental decisions about our economy sit with a cruel and incompetent Tory government that’s missing in action.

“Our plan can be implemented quickly to deliver help to those who need it now, but it needs the political will to do it.”

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