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Tories reveal plan to cut green taxes in energy reforms

A three-point plan has been drawn up by Conservative MPs inside the government over the rising cost of energy prices. According to the Sunday Telegraph, the plan consists of:

  • The completion of the Energy Companies Obligation, which involves fitting insulation and energy saving measures into the homes of vulnerable customers, such as pensioners on low incomes, would be delayed by two years to 2017.
  • Energy companies would be given more time to meet their targets for cutting carbon emissions under the ECO scheme, under the plan.
  • Ministers would review the Carbon Price Floor, a tax on fossil fuels used to generate electricity, which the power companies say will add £26 to household bills.
  • Cutting the cost of distribution of gas and electricity, which is organised through smaller regional monopolies. Government sources say Ofgem, the energy regulator, has failed to be tough enough on bringing down the costs of distribution on the gas and electricity networks.

Government 'should act on spiralling energy bills'

Shadow Energy Secretary Caroline Flint has welcomed the Archbishop of Canterbury's comments over energy price rises, who said that the Big Six companies had a "moral duty" towards their hard-pressed customers.

According to the Mail on Sunday, Ms Flint said: "The chorus of voices telling this Government to act on spiralling energy bills is deafening."

Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary Caroline Flint Credit: PA

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Welby: Big Six have 'responsibility to serve society'

The head of the Church of England has said he understood the anger the energy price rises were generating. Justin Welby said in an interview with the Mail on Sunday that the Big Six companies "had a responsibility" to their customers:

They have control because they sell something everyone has to buy. We have no choice about buying it. With that amount of power comes huge responsibility to serve society.

The social licence to operate of the energy companies is something they have to take very, very seriously indeed.

– Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury

Archbishop Justin Welby: Energy firms have moral duty

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has waded into the row over energy prices, warning that the latest wave of hikes looks "inexplicable" and that providers should behave morally.

Archbishop of Canterbury the Most Reverend Justin Welby Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Welby insisted the Big Six companies should be "conscious of their social obligations", and "behave with generosity and not merely to maximise opportunity".

The intervention, in an interview with the Mail on Sunday, came after British Gas followed in the footsteps of SSE by announcing a 9.2% increase in prices.

The head of the Church of England said: "I can understand people being angry about it, because having spent years on a low income as a clergyman I know what it is like when your household budget is blown apart by a significant extra fuel bill and your anxiety levels become very high."

Archbishop warns MPs not to rush Syria decision

The Archbishop of Canterbury has warned MPs not to rush their decision on whether to vote for military intervention in the Syria conflict.

Ahead of tomorrow's early return to Parliament, the Most Rev Justin Welby said he feared the possible consequences of intervention, saying they were "beyond description and horrible".

Archbishop of Canterbury the Most Rev Justin Welby has warned MPs not to rush their decision on Syria. Credit: REUTERS/Ammar Abdullah

He told the Daily Telegraph: "I have had a lot of conversations with people in the region.

"I think the overwhelming sense is of a really moving and terrible sense of fear about what might come out of, what might be happening in the next few weeks - not predicated on people doing one thing or people doing another, just a sense that this a terribly, terribly dangerous time."

However, the Archbishop acknowledged that the Government was better informed than he was, making clear that he had no sense that politicians were "slavering" to "unleash the dogs of war".

Archbishop's rejection comes as big blow to RSPCA

The RSPCA has been accused of becoming too politicised in its pursuit of animal welfare causes. Credit: Sean Dempsey/PA Archive

The Archbishop of Canterbury's decision to turn down the role of vice-patron of the RSPCA will set back an organisation that has endured some negative recent press.

The animal charity has been accused of being heavy-handed in its approach to pet-owners and of allegedly pursuing criminal convictions to increase its revenue.

It was also accused of wasting public donations by spending £326,000 in pursuing legal action against fox hunters in the Cotswolds last year.

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Welby snubs RSPCA for causes which need him more

A spokeswoman for Lambeth Palace has explained the Archbishop of Canterbury's decision not to follow his predecessors in accepting the role of vice-patron of the RSPCA.

Since taking office in March this year, the Archbishop has received many kind invitations to patron a large variety of charities and good causes. Each invitation has been an honour, and in an ideal world he would like to accept them all.

However, in light of the sheer volume of the requests the Archbishop receives, and the many pressures on his time and resources, he has reluctantly decided to restrict his patronage to a manageable number of organisations, based on where he feels his support could be most beneficial.

– Spokeswoman for Lambeth Palace

She added: "Nevertheless, the Archbishop has enormous admiration for the RSPCA and hopes to see its work thrive long into the future."

Archbishop of Canterbury snubs traditional RSPCA role

The Most Rev Justin Welby's predecessor, Dr Rowan Williams, accepted the vice-patron role. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

The Archbishop of Canterbury has broken with tradition and turned down a post as vice-patron of the RSPCA, which has faced criticism for its recent bullish pursuit of animal welfare issues.

The animal charity, which was founded by an Anglican priest in 1824, has been accused of wasting donations on legal action.

Lambeth Palace said the Most Rev Justin Welby has "enormous admiration" for the RSPCA but had declined the invitation as he has "reluctantly decided to restrict his patronage".

Archbishop of Canterbury to take on payday lenders

The Archbishop of Canterbury has told Wonga that the Church of England wants to "compete" it out of existence as part of its plans to expand credit unions as an alternative to payday lenders.

The Most Rev Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

The Most Rev Justin Welby told Total Politics magazine he had delivered the message to Errol Damelin, chief executive of Wonga, one of Britain's best-known payday lenders, during a "very good conversation".

“I’ve met the head of Wonga and I’ve had a very good conversation and I said to him quite bluntly we’re not in the business of trying to legislate you out of existence, we’re trying to compete you out of existence.” He flashes that smile again. “He’s a businessman; he took that well.”

Archbishop of Canterbury targets homophobic bullying

The Archbishop of Canterbury announced a campaign to stamp out homophobic bullying in Church of England schools as he warned the faithful of a "revolution" in attitudes to sexuality in society.

Archbishop of Canterbury the Most Reverend Justin Welby. Credit: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

He told members of the Church of England's General Synod: "We may or may not like it, but we must accept that there is a revolution in the area of sexuality and we have not yet fully heard it.

"The majority of the population rightly detests homophobic behaviour or anything that looks like it and sometimes they look at us and see what they don't like.

"With nearly a million children educated in our schools we not only must demonstrate a profound commitment to stamp out such stereotyping and bullying but we must also take action".

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