Yorkshire's 'Red Wall' seats poised to return to Labour at next election, polling claims

A new poll shows that 17 out of 18 Red Wall seats are poised to return to Labour, as residents face spiralling energy bills.

The survey comes ahead of the price cap review in April, in which households may be hit with energy bill hikes of up to £719.

A poll of voters in 18 “Red Wall” constituencies across the north of England found that 79 per cent said the Government “does not understand” the financial pressures on working families.

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The poll, conducted by YouGov on behalf of trade body Energy and Utilities Alliance, found that 80 per cent of Conservative voters in 2019 now believe the issue of energy bills to be important to them, with nearly 60 per cent stating that rising energy bills are having a big impact upon their personal finances.

Boris Johnson's Conservative Party won a raft of seats in former Labour strongholds in the 2019 General Election - but new polling suggests the Tories are on course to lose many of them at the next GE.

Around 1,600 voters in 18 red wall constituencies across the north of England, were polled, covering seats won by the Conservatives for the first time in 2019.

The constituencies polled for the research included Don Valley, Penistone and Stocksbridge, and Rother Valley.

Mike Foster, EUA’s chief executive said: “These numbers confirm just how deeply the cost-of-living crisis is hitting working families. And at the heart of this crisis are escalating energy bills.

“When there is such strong sentiment expressed by the public, the Government must listen. Sky-high energy bills are not the fault of consumers, but they are paying a heavy price. It is also very clear that politicians will pay a price for not tackling sky-high bills.”

“In October, the average price cap bill rose by £140, another £700 is simply not affordable.

“Voters will expect action before April’s figures kick in. There is plenty the Government can do but in the short-term, their options are limited. Cutting VAT on energy bills and switching environment levies onto general taxation will help. They could increase the Winter Fuel Payment paid to pensioners too, but they do need to act.”

John Healey, Labour MP for Wenworth and Dearne said this week that the cost of living is a “bigger worry than Covid” for many, as they head back to work and school after the Christmas break.

Mr Healey added that households are being hit hard with rising food and energy bills, combined with a cut to the Universal Credit uplift which has left 10,170 families in his constituency £20 a week worse off.

Mr Healey said: “It’s a tough New Year for families who are seeing the costs of living rising and their household budgets stretched.

“People are being hit in the pocket by problems created in Downing Street. Instead of helping families get by Ministers are making matters worse by taking away the £20 a week uplift in Universal Credit and taking more in unfair tax hikes.”

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