A THIRD of Brits fear being unable to pay soaring fuel bills this year

A THIRD of Britons fear being unable to pay soaring fuel bills this year as Tories warn Boris failure to tackle cost of living crisis means electoral disaster

  • New poll shows one third of Brits fear energy bills will be unaffordable this year
  • Energy price cap is scheduled to be reviewed in April with big increase expected
  • Boris Johnson under growing pressure from Tory MPs to do more to help families

One third of Britons fear they will be unable to pay their energy bills this year because of the worsening cost of living crisis, according to a new poll. 

A YouGov survey published by The Times found 33 per cent of people expect their fuel bills to become unaffordable in 2022.  

Meanwhile, 86 per cent are braced for the cost of living to increase and two thirds (67 per cent) are personally worried about rising prices. 

The stark poll numbers will pile the pressure on Boris Johnson to do more to tackle rising energy bills and soaring inflation as he also faces calls from Tory MPs to scrap a planned hike in National Insurance. 

The Prime Minister is expected to hold further talks with Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng this week as they try to agree measures to help struggling families with their energy bills. 

Senior Tories have warned Mr Johnson he will be punished at the ballot box unless he acts now to tackle the cost of living crisis. 

Boris Johnson is under growing pressure after a new poll found one third of Britons fear they will be unable to pay their energy bills this year because of the worsening cost of living crisis

The Prime Minister is expected to hold further talks with Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng this week as they try to agree measures to help struggling families with their energy bills

Senior Tories have warned Mr Johnson he will be punished at the ballot box unless he acts now to tackle the cost of living crisis

The wholesale price of gas spiked at the end of 2021 because of high demand around the world. 

Predictions have suggested that bills could increase by more than 50 per cent in April when a review of the energy price cap is conducted.

The cap is currently set at an already record-beating £1,277 but analysts believe it could go up to £1,995. 

Mr Johnson has been told by senior Tory figures that he must get a grip of domestic issues and deliver on his 2019 election pledges. 

Ben Houchen, the Conservative mayor of the Tees Valley, wrote in The Times Red Box that the PM ‘must make it his New Year’s resolution to redouble and refocus the government’s work to level up the United Kingdom’.

He said: ‘It’s time for the Prime Minister to focus, remember what got him elected two years ago, and what the British people need to see him return as prime minister at the next election.’

Three Tory select committee chairman have issued similar warnings as they called on the PM to act. 

Julian Knight, chairman of the Commons culture committee, said last night: ‘Boris needs to wake up and listen to his party on energy and set a clear path out of the cost of living crisis. In the short-term, he needs to abolish the VAT on energy bills and get rid of the green taxes.’  

Robert Halfon, chairman of the education committee, described the cost of living as the ‘number one issue facing the Prime Minister’. 

The former minister said: ‘People voted for Boris because they believed their financial security and prosperity would be better – he has got to make it happen.’ 

Backbenchers have warned the Chancellor the 1.25 per cent national insurance rise coming into force in April would worsen the pressures on family finances

Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the defence committee, said: ‘It’s now becoming a totemic domestic issue on how we are handling the economy and the Government is very conscious of this. 

‘I hope the Chancellor will… provide both temporary and long-term solutions to both the cost and security of energy supply.’

Lord Frost, the former Brexit minister, warned in The Mail on Sunday that the PM risks losing the next election unless he returns to the Tory values of ‘free markets, free debate and low taxes’. 

One senior Conservative said yesterday: ‘People are p***** off about parties in No 10 now but it will pass. What won’t pass is the anger people will feel when, far from being levelled up, they find their standard of living has been levelled down.’    

Labour has unveiled its own proposals for tackling energy price rises, which include scrapping VAT on bills and introducing a windfall tax on North Sea oil producers. 

It claims the measures would save the average family £200, rising to £600 for those on low incomes. 

Mr Johnson has already effectively ruled out a blanket cut to VAT on fuel bills but the Government is examining other options to alleviate pressure on household finances.  

 The energy price cap is due to be reviewed in April and experts expect it to rise by more than 50 per cent

He told a Downing Street press conference last week that he is not ‘ruling out further measures’ to help on energy bills but cutting VAT is ‘a bit of a blunt instrument’. 

The energy industry has asked the Government to provide billions of pounds worth of loans to help it spread the elevated cost of gas over a longer period of time to avoid a massive increase in household bills in April.  

Whitehall officials have reportedly been working on a loan scheme but it is thought it would be much smaller in size than the £20billion fund which has been asked for by some firms. 

There are also growing calls for ministers to slash green levies on energy bills to give families some respite from rising costs. 

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