Miliband vows to protect small firms from 'unfair' energy prices

Labour leader Ed Miliband is to promise to protect small firms from "unfair" treatment at the hands of the energy companies in a speech to the Federation of Small Businesses at their annual conference.

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Government: Already helping firms 'get fairer deal'

The Department for Energy and Climate Change said that a cross-industry working group had already been set up to address key issues of concern, including improving options for repaying back-dated bills.

Small businesses deserve a fairer and more transparent energy market to help ensure they are getting the best energy deal.

Today's announcement of the first ever market reference for the energy market will help small businesses as well as householders get a fairer deal on their energy.

– DECC spokesman

Miliband: Energy prices 'unfair' to small businesses

Ed Miliband is due to say today:

It is unacceptable that companies like yours do not have even basic protections that are available to households under the law from unfair energy contracts.

– Ed Miliband

Labour would also give business organisations like the FSB new legal rights to take cases - such as late payment by firms or government departments - to court on behalf of their members.

It would also invite the FSB to join Which? and Citizens Advice in helping to set the agenda for the Competition and Markets Authority's investigations to ensure markets were working properly in the interests of consumers and businesses.

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Miliband promises business protection from fuel costs

Ed Miliband will speak at FSB conference in Manchester. Credit: PA

Labour leader Ed Miliband is to make a fresh attempt to reach out to business with a promise to protect small firms from "unfair" treatment at the hands of the energy companies.

In a speech to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in Manchester, he will say that a Labour government would reform the energy market to ensure small firms were given the same legal protections as householders.

These would include establishing a new energy regulator with powers to suppliers from rolling firms on to more expensive tariffs without their consent or hitting them with "crippling" back-bills for periods of longer than a year.

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