The expected rise in the energy price cap will add about £600 a year to the average household energy bill.

The news came last week, the day after the Government unveiled its “levelling up” plan. While energy companies distribute their huge profits to shareholders, struggling families will be hit with a huge rise in their fuel bills. Some levelling up.

The Government has watched this crisis unfolding. Its reported proposal to extend loans to energy companies is a short-term sticking plaster that does nothing to tackle the root causes of the problem: our dependence on international gas sources rather than increasing sources of home-grown publicly owned renewables - together with some of the leakiest housing stock in western Europe.

We are all paying the price for the short-sightedness of previous Tory governments who sat on their hands, slowing down the essential transition away from fossil fuels and scrapping energy-efficiency measures like insulation, which would cut demand.

Gas prices will not be going down any time soon. We need to leave fossil fuels in the ground, and rapidly speed up the transition to renewable energy. This will help us address the climate emergency AND make ourselves less vulnerable to global price rises. We also need to impose a windfall tax on the huge profits of the energy companies, and start treating energy as an essential public service rather than a money-making opportunity for huge companies.

Most urgently of all, we need a nationwide home insulation programme. Stroud District Council is wholly committed to energy efficiency and carbon reduction, and has just been awarded a government grant of £1.8m towards its ongoing programme to insulate and install low-carbon heating in council-owned homes. But we urgently need similar investment by government in our homeowners and private tenants - a nationwide programme to give people warm homes, cut energy use and create thousands of good, green jobs across the country.

Chloe Turner

Stroud District Green Party