Press release

Brits hold Government to blame for high energy costs

Tuesday 26 August 2008

  • Almost half (46%) think successive Governments are to blame for rising energy bills
  • Younger generation point finger of blame at excessive global consumption

Despite today's price hikes announced by energy suppliers Eon and Scottish and Southern Energy, almost half of the population (46%) blames Government for rises in energy costs. Research* by Saga Home Insurance reveals that the UK public considers increases by successive Governments in fuel duty and VAT responsible for rising energy bills. Energies companies themselves are also held to account, with over two fifths (44%) citing them as directly responsible for the price increases.

In light of recent price hikes by British Gas and EDF and further increases announced today by Eon and SSE, customers are facing a difficult time with household bills. Whilst the energy companies blame rising wholesale prices caused by dwindling supplies, the British public blames Government, energy companies and excessive global consumption ahead of declining supplies (35%) and emerging market demand (29%). Other factors people held responsible were the ongoing conflict in the Middle East (32%) and the War in Iraq (25%). A fifth of people (20%) also directly blamed the American Government for increases in their domestic fuel bills.

Who is responsible for rising energy bills?

1. Successive UK Governments (46%)

2. UK energy companies (44%)

3. Excessive global consumption of energy (40%)

4. The UK Labour Government (38%)

5. Petrol Exporting Countries (37%)

Interestingly, 18 to 34 year olds see themselves and society as primarily responsible for these rises, saying the increases are due to excessive global consumption of energy (42%) whilst all other ages blame Government first. The older generation are also more prone to point the finger at OPEC with 45% of over 50s blaming the institution for price rises compared to just 31% of under 50s. This is probably because they are old enough to remember OPECs involvement in the global oil crises in the seventies. Over 50s were also more likely to hold the fact that the UK's nuclear power stations and infrastructure are aging as responsible with 20% of them blaming this compared to just 12% of under 50s.

London is the most ecologically aware region with 46% of Londoners thinking excessive consumption is the trigger for the hikes, whilst all other regions follow the national lead and criticise Government. London also the region most supportive of the current Government with only just over a quarter (29%) blaming it for the rises, compared to over two fifths (42%) of Northerners.

Andrew Goodsell, Chief Executive of Saga comments "Whatever the reason for rising energy prices, consumers face an expensive winter."

For more information on Saga Home Insurance please visit www.saga.co.uk/home or call 0800 068 8719.

-ENDS-

*Analysis carried out by Opinium Research on an online poll of 2,209 British adults between 17th and 21st July 2008.

For further press information please contact the Saga Press Office on: 01303 771529.

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