Consumer expert Martin Lewis has warned that the energy crisis is “potentially more dangerous to lives than the pandemic”, and said he will write a briefing note to the Prince of Wales on the issue, as he received his CBE at Windsor Castle.
The broadcaster and founder of MoneySavingExpert.com spoke to Charles on Tuesday after the prince presented his honour.
Mr Lewis said he felt he had to “raise the alarm” because the country would face “cataclysmic” problems in the winter.
Speaking at Windsor, added: “I would be far happier to have come and got my honour and have a nice fun day and not be talking about this because the world is wonderful, but the world isn’t wonderful right now. And I think this is potentially more dangerous to lives than the pandemic.
“It is a cataclysmic problem that is going to face the country this winter.
“I am without embarrassment, deliberately, provocatively, raising an alarm right now. And I will do that with everyone. And when you get the ear of the Prince of Wales for a moment like that, it seemed the right time to take advantage.”
Mr Lewis condemned the MPs running in the Tory leadership contest for their “deafening silence” on how they would tackle the energy crisis on becoming prime minister in the autumn.
He said: “We have a debate about tax at the moment. Tax is certainly an issue of political philosophy which I understand why that is important to the Conservative Party, but people need to be under no mistake, energy is not a totem, energy is the core of the real problem people will face.
“So it seems to me absolutely the first part of the debate that every one of these candidates should answer is: what are you going to do to help people with the catastrophe that is coming that, unless it is dealt with properly, will see people starve and freeze?
“The provisions that have been put in place so far help, but the increase in the prediction since May, when those provisions were put in, is £450. The help for most households is £400. So just the increase since May has already eaten up the help that will be coming.
“So the first question that I want to hear them answer is: what are you going to do about energy bills?
“Tax does not help everyone. It doesn’t help those on the state pension, it doesn’t help those on universal credit. I’ll leave others to look at the inflation issue.
“So absolutely, for me, this should be front and centre of the agenda. And what I’m hearing at the moment is a deafening silence.”
Asked how he remains motivated to continue to lobby the Government over the cost of living, he replied: “If you had the number of desperate people telling you their stories every day, and you knew you had a voice that could be magnified because of the work I’ve done.
“I’m lucky enough that when I say things they tend to echo to the public, and I think there’s some 400 MPs follow me on Twitter, so I know, when I say something, it might just reach ears that can do something.
“I think I would be abrogating my responsibility if I didn’t use that voice at the moment.
“So even though I’m tired, and I’m going to take a bit of time off this summer, I feel it is a duty-bound responsibility. When you see a ship about to go into an iceberg, you don’t go ‘phew’, you ring the bloody alarm bell, and I’m ringing the alarm bell right now.”