PUTIN'S unnecessary war in Ukraine may be happening almost 2,000 miles away but we are all too aware of the effect it is having on gas, oil and product prices right here in Dudley South and around the rest of the world.

While Government support through the Energy Price Cap and Energy Price Guarantee has helped cushion consumers from the full brunt of these increases, we have all seen our energy bills rise to levels much higher than we were used to prior to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Thankfully, global wholesale energy prices are starting to fall. This means that Ofgem, who set the Energy Price Cap, have been able to announce a reduction in the cap with a typical household’s bill set to fall from around £3,280 per year to £2,074 per year from July 1.

This is the second big fall in a row in energy prices. At the start of the year, the Energy Price Cap was £4,279 before being reduced to £3,280 in April.

Because the Government has subsidised household energy bills through the Energy Price Guarantee so that a typical household doesn’t pay more than £2,500 a year, families won’t have seen any difference to their energy bills in April.

While I believe that it was right for the Government to step in to support households when global energy prices were threatening to spiral out of control, it would not be sustainable in the long-term for the taxpayer to effectively pay a third of people’s energy bills – but, with the Energy Price Cap falling well below the Energy Price Guarantee from July, it should mean less pressure on household finances as well as less pressure on Government finances.

The latest fall in energy prices will mean that customers will start to see their bills coming down by an average of 18 per cent in July.

While prices will still be higher than before Russia’s invasion, there is no doubt that it is good news for consumers and good news for taxpayers that prices are now falling so quickly and I hope that we will see prices falling again in the autumn.

Last week, I dropped by at Maidensbridge Primary School in Wall Heath to catch up with headteacher Mrs Thomas and the School Council before they broke up for half term. I also had the pleasure of stopping off at Wall Heath Community Centre to spend some time with their regular Friday ‘Crafty Chatters’ group.

Linda Hickman who runs the group has also just taken over as the new chairman of the community centre and it was really great to hear how she and the team are planning to embed the centre even more deeply into the Wall Heath community.

Like so many who volunteer and lead our community centres, Linda’s dedication and commitment is truly heartening. I would therefore like to finish this week’s column by giving a big thank you to Linda and all of the other fantastic volunteers across Dudley South who do so much to bring our communities together.