Writing for this week’s Redditch Standard (January 14th), Rachel said:

“I know that pressures on household budgets are increasing right now, which is why I want to set out steps the Government is taking to ease the pressures on families and businesses on the cost of living.

“Right now, global gas prices are high due to various factors, including an increase in demand following the end of lockdowns in various countries and in return economies reopening, a cold winter in the UK, high demand in Asia for liquified natural gas transported globally by freight which has meant that far less LNG has reached Europe, and weather events in the US limiting supply to Europe. 

“With reduced variety of supply globally and much higher than anticipated demand, high wholesale gas prices have subsequently driven an increase in wholesale power prices, with a number of short-term markets trading at, or near, record levels. 

“The UK is not along in facing these challenges. The pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges for businesses, industries, and consumers across the world.

“That is why we delivered over £407 billion of economic support since the beginning of the pandemic – now backed by a further £1 billion package for key sectors to mitigate the impacts of Omicron – and we continue to support families with household bills.”

“We are also delivering £4.2 billion of support to help with the cost of living, keeping our Energy Price Cap in place, delivering a £1,000 tax cut for working families by cutting the Universal Credit taper rate, and increasing our National Living Wage to £9.50 an hour.

“I can assure you the Government remains committed to protecting consumers, particularly vulnerable consumers or those on low incomes – and this is its main priority.

“To help those most in need with their energy bills, the Government recently announced that a new Household Support Fund will make financial and other assistance available this winter and through until the end of March 2022.

“Worcestershire County Council has been allocated £3.9 million from this fund to support people in need in the county. At least half of this funding is ring fenced to support families with children. Act on Energy will be providing this service across Worcestershire and be contacted by calling 0800 9882881 or email support@actonenergy.org.uk.

“Protecting my constituents from rising energy prices is this Government’s top priority, and I will continue to work with Ministers as they work to reduce bills to help hard-working families in Redditch.”