Liam Halligan: The government need to help families cope with spiralling energy bills by scrapping the VAT

Household energy bills are set to soar to more than £2000 for the average household

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Last week, the energy company Ovo apologised after advising customers to do star jumps, cuddle pets and eat porridge to cut down energy bills and stay warm.

The energy firm, one of the UK’s largest suppliers, said it was “embarrassed” by a blog offering 10 tips on “keeping warming in the winter without turning up the heating”.

These included “having a cuddle” with your pets and loved ones”, challenging the kids to a hula-hoop contest, or doing a few star jumps”.

Not to be outdone, another energy giant E.On also apologised for sending branded socks to tens of thousands of households, with advice to turn down the heating – “to help reduce carbon emissions”.

Energy bills will significantly rise in April, when a new household energy price cap kicks in.

Household fuel costs have already reached record levels over recent months, as increased demand plus supply and storage and supply issues have caused wholesale gas prices to spiral.

When the new household price is announced in February, it's set to soar from £1,277 for the average households to more than £,2000.

This rise will hit millions of households hard. For large energy companies, in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, to josh about star jumps and sending polyester socks through the post, is a serious misjudgement.

The public relations professionals who came up with such ideas have a lot to learn about relations – and, indeed, about the public.The share of families suffering “fuel stress” – spending at least 10 per cent of their family budget on energy bills – is set to treble to 6.3 million overnight, says the Resolution Foundation thinktank.

That's around one in four UK households - no laughing matter.

Such fuel stress will extend beyond the poorest households, with low and middle-income families also struggling – the latter not eligible for benefits, of course.

That’s why GB News is calling on the government to scrap VAT on fuel bills – something that can be done now, a policy move within ministers power now we’ve left the European Union.The cost-of-living squeeze is tightening.

Hard-working households are already facing higher inflation and tax rises in April. So we’re renewing our call on the UK government to help families cope with spiralling household energy bills by scrapping the Vat.