What are other countries doing to help people with soaring energy bills?
Due to the fact that the energy price crisis has largely been caused by a global price spike, countries around the world are also being affected in much the same way as the UK.
However, many nations have introduced policies that go far further than those introduced by the UK government – policies which genuinely protect ordinary people from bearing the brunt of a crisis we did not create and can ill afford right now.
In France, for example, President Macron recently announced that electricity price rises were to be capped at just 4%, and that gas price rises would be limited to 12.6%.
In addition, the French government are also giving a €100 rebate to all citizens earning less than €2000 a month in order to help with the increase.
Had Macron’s government not intervened, the people of France would now be facing increased energy bills of around 45%.
When compared to the UK – where the Energy Price Cap has just been raised by 54% – ordinary people in France have clearly been handed a far better deal.
France’s energy sector is largely state-run, with the government holding an 86% stake in the country’s largest energy firm, EDF, which runs 56 nuclear power plants across the country and generates more than 70% of the entire country’s electricity.
Owing to their largely democratically-controlled energy sector, the French government is also able to freely intervene to ensure that energy bills stay low for ordinary people – and it means that any profit generated by EDF is invested back into improving the system, not simply pocketed by private shareholders.
This point was perfectly summed up by Labour MP Grahame Morris at Prime Minister’s Question earlier in March – whose question left Boris Johnson floundering, with the PM basically conceding that the British public were getting such a raw deal precisely because our energy sector is privatised:
Research has found that the French already enjoyed some of the cheapest energy bills in Europe – whilst Brits continue to suffer some of the most expensive, with the UK ranked fourth behind only Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands.
Other European Countries
Elsewhere in Europe, the government of Spain promised citizens that electcitiy bills would not rise beyond 2018 levels – with Pedro Sanchez’s left-wing coalition introducing several measures including:
- Capping gas prices at 4.4% instead of an estimated 28%
- Cutting VAT on energy from 5.1% to 0.5%
- A €2.6 billion windfall tax on the excess profits of Energy Firms
Whilst Norway’s government has promised to cover the costs of 80% of every citizens’ energy bill above pre-crisis levels – a scheme which will run until at least March 2023 and which effectively caps extra costs at 20%.