Star comment: Action must be taken now on looming energy crisis

Government will be judged by how it responds.

Away from the drinks parties, a crisis is fast approaching.

It’s a political asteroid which will impact in only a few weeks’ time, destroying lives and potentially blasting Boris Johnson into outer space if, that is, he is still in office which at the moment is an open question.

We are heading for a disaster on the home front, a financial hit which will affect every household in the country, unless the government acts to help those who cannot afford to pay their home energy bills.

While Downing Street garden parties grab the headlines, it is the energy bills issue which will actually affect the lives of ordinary people, causing misery.

Boris Johnson has already outraged public opinion and whether he will be able to ride out the controversy is questionable, but in any event if he shows indifference or indolence in the face of the impending crisis, which is being described by Age UK as a national emergency, it will compound his offences at a time that he will need all the friends, both in the public and politically, he can get.

While the soaring cost of energy is an international issue, the UK government will be judged by how it responds, and just as importantly how it plans.

The well-intended price cap has proven a rod for the government’s back. It would like to get praise for acting to protect the vulnerable from big price rises. But the current market madness means the present cap level is unsustainable, and there will be no praise to be had when the government is, as is expected, forced to put the price cap up, meaning much bigger household bills. It falls to the government to find ways to soften the blow – otherwise there will be a political price to pay.

Have you ventured out on a bike recently?

If not, give it a try. You are likely to be shocked by the state of our roads.

Potholes are a menace to drivers who can find themselves with a burst tyre. And they are outright dangerous to those brave enough to travel around on two wheels.

Pothole-related breakdowns have now reached a three-year high. The RAC says it received 10,123 call outs for problems caused by damaged road surfaces last year – up almost 20 per cent on the year before.

For what is its worth, today is National Pothole Day, which aims to highlight problems caused by crumbling roads.

While we can have some sympathy with councils having to juggle services with limited finances, safe roads are one of the fundamentals we should come to expect. After all, lives could literally depend on it.

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