Union warns economy is threatened by companies’ price hikes

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Unite has warned the fall in inflation is being threatened by greedy energy companies whose price hikes will re-ignite inflation putting further pressure on working families and the struggling economy.

The union is calling for a price cap on energy companies to stop them from abusing their social responsibilities and threatening the fragile economy.

Inflation fell to its lowest level for nearly three years last month, but energy price hikes are expected to put household finances under pressure once more.

The Office for National Statistics has today reported that the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) fell to 2.2% in September, down from 2.5% in August and the lowest level since November 2009.  But rises are expected to push it higher after four of the “big six” energy firms announced large price rises. Today’s figures showed the Retail Prices Index (RPI), which includes housing costs, also eased back last month, to 2.6% from 2.9% in August.

Pensioners and those on benefits will also suffer, as any future rises in inflation will wipe out any increase in payments, as last month’s CPI inflation figure is used by the government to calculate payment increases.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “These greedy energy companies are recklessly heating up inflation while families up and down the country struggle to heat their homes just as winter approaches.

“With September’s inflation figure being used to calculate increases in payments to pensioners and those on benefits, the poor and the most vulnerable will be especially hard hit by the impact of these energy price hikes.

“It’s high time the government intervened to put a cap on energy prices and tightened regulation to stop this racketeering which is hurting families and the economy. Energy companies are abusing their social responsibilities and they have proved time and time again that without legislation they will not change their behaviour.”


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