Britain’s pension funds own 0.2 percent of Shell and BP shares, think thank Common Wealth has revealed. Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh explained why she is against calls to nationalise the energy firms. Speaking to LBC, she said: “I think the problem is how much money do you want to spend doing it.
“Everything has an opportunity cost so if we’re going to nationalise the gas and electricity, what is it that we’re not going to do?
“What hospitals are we not going to build, what bridges are we not going to build?
“What houses, for me social housing is the most important area we should invest money in.
“I think you’ve just got to think about how much it costs to do that because most of the shareholders in the gas and electricity companies are actually our pension funds.
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“We have to pay them back for our shares.
“I do think we need to look at how the energy price cap works because clearly, it’s not working effectively for people.”
It comes as household energy bills are likely to remain at more than two-and-a-half times their pre-crisis levels until at least 2024, a dire new prediction has warned.
Cornwall Insight, one of the country’s most respected energy consultancies, said bills will hit a staggering £3,359 per year from October for the average household, and not fall below that level until at least the end of next year.
The price cap on energy bills, which regulates what 24 million British households pay, will hit £3,616 from January and rise further to £3,729 from April.
It will begin to fall after that, but only slowly, reaching £3,569 from July before hitting £3,470 for the last three months of 2023.
The latest price cap predictions are hundreds of pounds above previous forecasts from Cornwall Insight but are slightly lower what another consultancy, BFY, has predicted.
In May, the Government announced an energy costs support package – worth £400 per household – in response to predictions that bills would rise to £2,800 for the average household in October.
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The package also promised extra support for more vulnerable households.
Last month, Cornwall Insight predicted that annual energy bills would typically rise to £3,244 from October and £3,363 from January, but circumstances have changed significantly since then.
“Customers will be sadly used to these ever-increasing price cap forecasts. We have less than a month until the new price cap is announced and given the trends in the wholesale market and the concerns over Russian supply, unfortunately, the only change to the prediction is likely to be up,” said Craig Lowrey, principal consultant at Cornwall Insight.
“While the rise in forecasts for October and January is a pressing concern, it is not only the level but the duration of the rises that makes these new forecasts so devastating.”