The 72-year-old pensioner, who lives on their own, described turning to the refuge of London’s public galleries in order to keep warm in the winter months. Annie, called into LBC to speak with host Sangita Myska about her experience with soaring energy bills amid the cost of living crisis.
Ms Myska told the 72-year-old pensioner: “Annie to have turned off your gas in January you must have been freezing, we had a particularly cold winter. How did you cope?
“Shall I let you in on a secret and it is on the radio,” replied the caller.
“The fact of the matter is, I have been heating myself up during the cold winter months. I worked in a gallery in London for ten years and I was told by a very rich lady there who visits the gallery on a regular basis I was told by her, why did you want to use your energy if you are not in a good financial state?
“Why do you not go out in winter, leave your house and go to galleries where it is heated in the galleries? Why not save your energy?
“That’s an amazing point that she made and I have kind of practised that ever since.”
“So you go outside when into public buildings just to stay warm,” double-checked the LBC host.
“I get the heat from wherever building is got the heating available to me,” replied the pensioner.
“That’s how I do it and that’s how I think a lot of people should do it if they’re really pushed to the wall, which we are we pushed to the wall. This county is finished as far as I’m concerned.”
The Government is working on plans to help people with energy bills this winter, a Tory minister has insisted.
Victoria Prentis, a minister at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, told Times Radio: “It’s right that people need help and I’m really here to try to reassure them that the Government is making plans to help people as they will need it with energy bills this winter”.
She added: “I would like to reassure you that there are many, many different plans being worked on by civil servants and ministers at the moment, and whoever comes in as the next Conservative leader and our next prime minister will have the background work ready and will be able to make those difficult choices very quickly and before it’s needed.
Ms Prentis, a supporter of Rishi Sunak, argued that the nationalisation of Britain’s energy industry or freezing the price cap were not the solution, but that targeted support was needed.
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“What we need to do is not necessarily help everybody in the country in the same way. We need to make sure that while we will be providing some general support, … most of our support goes to those really vulnerable households, particularly pensioners, people with disabilities, for example, people who really don’t have other options.”
The Liz Truss camp has said the Tory leadership frontrunner is leaning towards targeted support over help for all to ease the cost-of-living crisis, but maintained she is not “ruling anything out” at this stage.
As the contest enters its final week, the country is still in the dark about exactly how either candidate would act to take the sting out of sky-high energy bills this winter.
Various different possibilities have been floated in the media, with Mr Sunak’s team warning that cutting VAT by 5 percent across the board would be “regressive” amid reports over the weekend his rival was considering the move as a “nuclear” option.