Labour attacks Govt over energy

Labour leader Ed Miliband has said it is "hard to keep up" with the coalition's energy policy, claiming it changes "hour by hour". The Government has denied claims they had asked the "Big Six" energy companies to fix prices until the next election.

Coalition tries to reclaim initiative on energy prices

by Claire Stewart - ITV News Political Correspondent

Ed Miliband's plan to freeze energy prices for 20 months, if a Labour government is elected at the next general election, is seen as potentially a real vote winner.

The coalition government have condemned that as a con, but they have struggled to come up with their own alternative.

Tomorrow, the Prime Minister and his deputy have written an article for a Sunday newspaper in which they will outline how they plan to help families with the soaring cost of energy prices.

It has been reported that part of that may be a £12 rebate for every household on their electricity bills.

That would be paid for by the Warm Home Discount Scheme, being paid for by the government rather than by the energy companies.

The government are not confirming that, but I understand there will be a package of measures which aim to make us all about £50 better off.

Coalition tackle bills in response to Labour's price freeze

Chancellor George Osborne is expected to announce any reductions in energy bills in his Autumn Statement next week, as the coalition try to respond to Labour's pledge to freeze energy prices for 20 months if it wins the general election.

Speaking from Vilnius in Lithuania where he is attending a summit, Prime Minister David Cameron said:

I want to help households and families by getting sustainably low energy prices.

Now, the only way you can do that is by increasing competition and eroding the costs of some of the levies on people's bills.

I said that's what we were going to do, that is what we are going to do and I think that's a very positive step forward.

That's a world away from making a vague promise about something you might do in 20 months' time with no idea about how you are going to do it.

That is a con. What we are dealing with is real policy that can make a real difference.

Read: Household energy bills 'could drop by £50'

Advertisement

Household energy bills 'could drop by £50'

Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to drive down energy bills.
Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to drive down energy bills. Credit: Matt Dunham/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Household energy bills could drop by £50 as a result of cuts to green levies being drawn up by the coalition.

The reductions are expected to be finalised in negotiations taking place with the "Big Six" power firms this weekend.

There is also speculation that some of the suppliers will pledge to freeze charges until 2015 - as long as wholesale market costs do not spike.

Prime Minister David Cameron has signalled his determination to "erode" environmental and policy levies on gas and electricity bills.

They are estimated to add £112 to average annual charges, to support renewable power and subsidise insulation and other efficiency measures for lower income households.

Read: Miliband: Government's policy changes 'hour by hour'

Labour's three-pronged energy promise

A proposed freeze on energy prices is one of Ed Miliband's key policies. Credit: ITV News

Ed Miliband has pledged to end Britain's energy "rip-off" if he is elected Prime Minister. The Labour leader says he will force energy firms to:

  • Freeze bills until 2017
  • Split their retail and wholesale businesses
  • Replace Ofgem with a tougher regulator

The Coalition contends that increasing competition in the energy market and cutting green levies will help to reduce bills.

Advertisement

Miliband: Cameron is a 'weak and flailing Prime Minister'

Labour leader Ed Miliband has accused David Cameron of being a "weak and flailing Prime Minister".

Mr Miliband said: "What we now know is that while David Cameron has in public been opposing an energy price freeze, in private he has been pleading with the energy companies to get him off the hook.

"What Britain needs is Labour's strong, credible plan that we're publishing today to freeze energy prices until 2017 and reform a broken energy market so it properly works for business and families."

Increasing costs 'outside the control' of energy firms

Energy UK, which represents the energy firms, said there are substantial increasing costs on household bills that are "outside the control of the companies".

Chief executive Angela Knight told the Today programme that the cost of environmental and social levies "are of concern".

Energy UK said the increasing cost of environmental and social levies 'are of concern'.
Energy UK said the increasing cost of environmental and social levies 'are of concern'.. Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Ms Knight continued: "If you look at an average energy bill, only about half of it is energy.

"The only piece that actually sits within the control of the energy company themselves is the 18%-20% of the bill for operating costs and so forth."

Cameron calls Labour's energy price freeze 'a con'

Prime Minister David Cameron said Labour's energy price freeze promise is "a con" and that the Government's policy was "a world away from making such a vague promise about something you might do".

Mr Cameron said the only way to ensure sustainably lower household energy bills was by "increasing competition and rolling back the costs on some of the levies on people's bills".

Read: Miliband 'will end energy rip-off'

Load more updates