It’s hard to imagine after such a scorcher of a month, that it won’t be long before all of us across Birmingham start turning up our heating to keep us warm.
But this year it will be different as Britain faces another eye-watering hike in gas and electricity prices. Many people will be making the difficult choice between heating and eating.
Right now, so many people – including young families and pensioners - won't be able to afford to turn the heating on at all.
I’ll never forget one of the constituents I spoke to earlier this year, who told me how worried they were about managing their bills. They told me how they have just £334 per month to survive on. That is meant to cover payments for gas, electric, TV licence, food, phone, internet, council tax and water bills. My constituent has struggled to find employment and knows people can’t survive on such low benefits for a prolonged period. This has had a significant impact on his mental health and that was before prices go up.
People across Birmingham are worried about how they will make ends meet through this winter with record numbers plunged into fuel poverty. In my constituency of Edgbaston, 37.4% of households are fuel poor. This is compared to 18.8% just three years ago. In fact, our region of the West Midlands is the worst affected in the UK with almost one in four families impacted by fuel poverty.
We are in the midst of a national economic emergency. Labour’s message is clear, enough is enough.
We have a choice. This Tory government can carry on letting giant oil and gas producers make huge profits whilst working people and pensioners suffer.
Or we can do something about it. Labour would stop energy prices rising this winter by freezing the price cap, preventing prices rising further and saving the average household around £1,000.
We would pay for this by taxing oil and gas producers properly, getting rid of the loopholes the Tories were happy to wave through.
It means that households across my constituency of Edgbaston would save the equivalent of £42 million on Labour’s fully costed plan. Across Birmingham, that would extrapolate to over £430 million.
This £29bn plan will also bring inflation down, making future interest rate hikes less likely and ease the burden on households and businesses.
But we need to solve the energy crisis for good. We’d insulate every home that needs it to get bills down with our Warm Homes Plan.
And we’d get Britain off expensive foreign gas - by investing much, much more in home grown, cleaner energy such as solar, wind, hydrogen and nuclear power.
That is the only way to make sure people in my constituency of Edgbaston and across Birmingham never again face an energy price crisis like this.
We’ve had 12 years of a Tory Government that has failed to secure Britain's energy supplies, leaving bills higher and our country less secure.
Labour’s plan would end the price hikes now, reduce inflation and create cheaper, cleaner energy for the future – helping people get through the winter and providing the foundations for a stronger, more secure economy.
Only Labour can give Britain the fresh start it needs.