Sunday, 13 October 2013

Liberal Democrats on Energy bills

The Liberal Democrats are helping people with the cost of living by cutting income tax by £700 for working people.

We’ve already taken action to help with energy bills this winter. Two million households will get as much as £135 off their bills under the Warm Home Discount. 230,000 homes will be warmer this year by getting energy efficiency measures installed.

We’re also changing energy bills by cutting the number of tariffs, making bills simpler and clearer, and getting people off poor-value tariffs and on to the best deal for them.

The SSE price rise

This is clearly unwelcome news for customers of SSE. People should take the opportunity now to make sure they are on the best deal available to them.

Half of an average energy bill is made up of the wholesale cost of energy. This far outweighs the proportion of a bill that goes to help vulnerable households with their bills and to cut energy waste, and to encourage investment in the new low-carbon energy generation we need to keep the lights on. SSE’s own figures show that wholesale price rises have contributed more than policy costs to this price increase, as a share of the bill.

Labour’s energy price freeze

Everyone wants to help with the cost of rising bills, which is why Liberal Democrats have cut income tax by £700 for working people. And it’s why we’re changing energy bills by cutting the number of tariffs, making bills simpler and clearer, and getting people off poor-value tariffs and on to the best deal for them. But Labour’s plan is a promise that won’t work.

When they tried to fix prices in California it resulted in an electricity crisis and widespread blackouts. We can’t risk the lights going out here too.

Fixing prices in this way risks blackouts, jeopardises jobs and puts investment in clean, green technology in doubt.

Ed Miliband has already been forced to admit that there are flaws in his policy. He has admitted energy companies could appeal to the Government to overturn the freeze. And he had no answer to the question of what would happen if prices were put up by the energy companies before a freeze. Even senior Labour figures think it is unworkable and would cost jobs.

Labour and the cost of living

The reason the cost of living is high is because Labour crashed the economy. For them to criticise the Coalition for cleaning up their mess is utterly hypocritical.

In Government, Labour:

  • Crashed the economy, which is why the cost of living is high now
  • Scrapped the 10p tax, leaving half a million of the lowest paid worse off
  • Increased the state pension by an insulting 75p

Liberal Democrats have done everything we can to help people with the cost of living while cleaning up Labour’s mess. We have:

  • Stabilised the economy, keeping interest rates and mortgage payments low
  • Given 24m ordinary workers a £700 tax cut
  • Increased the state pension by £650 thanks to our ‘Triple lock’ (where pensions must rise with the highest of earnings, inflation or 2.5%)
  • Frozen Council Tax, saving the average household £600 since 2010
  • Frozen fuel duty, saving motorists £170 per year compared to what they would have paid under Labour
  • Announced free school meals for all infants from next year
  • Expanded free childcare and, from 2015, giving £1,200 a year towards the cost of childcare for every child under 12
  • From 2016 introducing a cap on social care costs, after years of Labour failures to reform the system