Millions of British households are reeling from the news that their energy bills are set to increase by 80 per cent this coming October.
On Friday, Britain’s energy regulator Ofgem announced that typical default tariff customers will see their energy price cap increased from £1,578 (€1,863) to £3,549 (€4,190).
This latest rise follows a 54 per cent increase in April, which also saw energy bills surge, causing hardship for households and SMEs alike.
It is being estimated that around 24 million households will be hit by this price hike, with the regulator acknowledging the “devastating” impact the increase will have on British consumers already struggling to make ends’ meet.
Locally, Malta’s Government has opted for a different approach. It froze electricity prices for 2022, cushioning the increase in international energy prices, therefore shielding Malta’s residents.
A €200 million fund allocated by Government to subsidise utility bills will have to be topped up by another €50 million to cover the ongoing rising electricity costs, which will only last till the end of the year, Times of Malta reported on Friday, citing sources.
While Maltese consumers are enjoying stable energy prices, however, its insulation from the rest of Europe, and its relatively insignificant market size has meant rapid inflation in essential items such as food and beverages.
Indeed, when excluding energy prices, Malta is registering higher inflation than elsewhere in Europe.
At the same time, national debt continues to increase, reaching €8.4 billion in June 2022, a €6.1 billion rise from the same period in 2021, according to the National Statistics Office.
However way Governments choose to manage the tide of rising costs, stemming both from the aftereffects of the pandemic as well as the war in Ukraine, what is certain is that national Governments will have to take swift and decisive action to manage the fall out and prevent economic degradation.
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