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article imageUK Labour Party to freeze energy prices if it wins next election

By Dawn Denmar     Sep 24, 2013 in Politics
Ed Miliband, leader of the Labour Party, delighted his supporters today when he announced that Labour will freeze UK gas and electricity bills if they come to power in the next election. Miliband spoke at the party's annual conference held in Brighton.
The Labour Party's conference is in Brighton this year and Ed Miliband spoke for more than an hour without notes as he presented his vision of "how Britain can do better under Labour" offering "an economy that works for ordinary people once again."
The Labour Party leader said gas and electricity prices would be frozen for 20 months for every UK home and business, saving consumers an average £120 and businesses £1,800 over the period.
He said: "The next Labour government will freeze gas and electricity prices until the start of 2017. Your bills will be frozen, benefiting millions of families and millions of businesses. That is what I mean by a government that fights for you. That's what I mean when I say: Britain can do better than this."
Adding: "the companies won't like it because it will cost them money. But they have been overcharging people for so long because the market does not work. And we need to press the reset button."
The consumer group Which? issued a report last week estimating UK consumers paid £3.9 billion per year too much for energy due to flaws in the market. It's felt energy companies have overcharged consumers because they haven't passed on reductions in wholesale prices. Energy prices are said to be the second-biggest cost faced by most British families, with £300 rises in the average family bill since 2010.
Which? have welcomed the plan, saying it gives "hope to the millions worrying about how they can afford to heat their homes."
Which? Executive Director, Richard Lloyd, said: "We now look forward to seeing the detail of how this will work.
"Wholesale costs are the biggest part of the eye-watering rises to energy bills that people have faced over the last 10 years.
"Making the wholesale market competitive by separating energy generation from supply is essential to help keep prices in check."
Labour had already committed to separating energy companies into generating and retailing bodies to create greater competition and abolishing the energy watchdog Ofgen, appointing a tougher regulating body to give consumers "a fairer deal."
The Labour Party say this move is not an echo of the nationalisation or price controls that previously existed in the UK but a temporary measure to aid consumers while the transition to a tougher and consumer-oriented regulatory body is put in place, with the power to force energy companies to sell "wholesale energy in a pooled market."
This proposal is highly likely to prove a popular measure and potential vote winner for Labour that will attract support from all sectors of society.
More about Uk labour party, UK energy prices, Labour party conference 2013, Ed Miliband, uk energy watchdog
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