Inflation hits highest rate for four decades

Cut to price cap hailed as ‘another milestone’ in government’s bid to halve inflation

The energy regulator Ofgem has this morning confirmed a cut to its price cap which will see average household bills come down this autumn.

Ofgem said the typical household paying by direct debit for gas and electricity faced an annual charge of £1,923 from October to December.

This is down from the £2,074 level set for the three months to the end of September. The cap does not apply to Northern Ireland.

Energy security and net zero secretary Grant Shapps described the news as “encouraging”, adding that it is “another milestone as we deliver on our promise to halve inflation”.

Mr Shapps said: “We acted swiftly when prices soared because of Putin’s abhorrent attack on Ukraine, spending billions and covering around half a typical household’s bill.

“And we are successfully driving Putin out of global energy markets so he can never again hold us to ransom, and we are boosting our energy independence to deliver cheaper, cleaner and more secure energy to British homes”.

The reduction is largely explained by weaker wholesale prices. And the price cap would have been lower still, by a further £100, if it had reflected a future Ofgem calculation that recognises reduced energy use.

Overall, household consumption has fallen sharply following the bill shocks of the past 18 months. However, there are warnings from industry forecasts that peak winter will likely see bills rise back above the £2,000 mark.

Shadow climate change and zero secretary Ed Miliband said: “These figures demonstrate the scandalous Tory cost of living crisis is still raging for millions of people.

“Thirteen years of failed Tory energy policy has left Britain as the most exposed economy in Western Europe to the effects of Putin’s war and Britain’s families and businesses are paying the price.

“Higher energy bills are unfortunately here to stay under the Conservatives, even with this fall, bills are significantly higher than they were only three years ago. The problem is the Tories have learnt no lessons from this crisis.”

Shadow minister Jenny Chapman also insisted that the cost of living crisis “is not going away” despite a fall in the energy price cap confirmed this morning.

She told Sky News: “I think for us, what we’re looking at – and the same with millions of people up and down the country – is the cost of living crisis.

“As we’ve just heard, it’s still raging. You’ve got food inflation at 14%, mortgages costing an average household around £3,000 a year extra. The cap’s going to be £1,923 but remember in 2021, the cap was £1,042.

“People are still in real difficulty with this. This crisis is not going away.”