- Will Croft elected Leader of the Conservative party
- South Pacific nations agree new alliance to counter China
- Budget 2016: Chancellor faces global slowdown
- Ministers embarrassed by ‘Legion’ leak
Press Cycle 1 - Energy Prices
It is absolutely obscene that millions of families across the UK have been condemned to fuel poverty while the Big Six energy companies dole out massive bonuses to executives for a supposed job well done. I support Labour's call for an immediate energy price freeze as a crucial first step to addressing this moral outrage and hope that it's swiftly adopted. However, the fact that a privileged few profit while millions are forced to endure the cold is emblematic of the devastating legacy of privatization, and it is high time we demand that vital public services be organized to meet human needs, to serve communities, not to act as mere vehicles for the aggrandizement of the wealthy.
Labour MP For Rotherham (2014-Present)
The reason that the big 6 energy companies are able to raise their prices year after year is because there are only six energy companies. The idea that we should intervene in the market to artificially freeze prices betrays a serious lack of understanding of market forces and how our economy works. Under Labour's plan we would see a big price hike before the freeze and a big price hike after the freeze completely negating any small semblance of a benefit from their policy. The way to get the best out of the market is to ensure that there is competition between firms, that should be our focus. I support an investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority to explore measures to increase competition in the energy sector and ensure that everyone feels the benefits of our free market economy.
Conservative MP for North East Bedfordshire
Leader of the Opposition (2014-16)
Prime Minister (2014)
Parliamentary Experience: Novice (25)
Media Experience: Experienced (62)
Policy Experience: Novice (29)
This idea that somehow a reinforcement of the free market will drive energy prices down for the millions of working people around this country is false. We've had the free market, people are now paying more than they ever have for their electricity and heating. An energy price freeze should only be the first step to helping people make ends meet where energy is concerned.
Andrew Hammond QC MP
Member of Parliament for Surrey Heath
What everyone should be concerned about is the impact of energy bills on the cost of living, but the way Labour plan is put forward for long term, and also in fact in the near term, it will have a profound impact in driving up the cost of energy for all. Labour plan is short-sighted and foolish because their plan will lock out the competition, raise the cost of capital and drive away foreign investors, making it harder to attract the investment needed into the sector. What we really need is to deliver transparency, longevity and certainty and labour has no clue how to achieve this.
Scarlett Stones MP for Chipping Barnet
Parliamentary Experience: Unknown (14)
Media Experience: Novice (22)
Policy Experience: Unknown (10)
The fact that energy prices are rising is a sign that our current energy market is not working for ordinary people. Long-sighted policies are needed to address this obvious market failure, which the poor will suffer the most from. Price caps are a short-sighted solution, and what we need is long term investment in green and sustainable energy, investments which the coalition take very seriously. In the short term, introducing elements of competition through public awareness campaigns around other options is a good solution. This will not be fixed overnight, though, and throwing money at the problem will not help.
MP for Montgomeryshire
Parliamentary - 5
Media - 16
Policy - 3
A freeze on unit rates/standing charges are offered by most providers anyway. Freezing your monthly bills means you have to pay the same during winter as you would during summer. How does this help people? Also, forcing the energy companies to put the over 75s on their cheapest tariff sounds good, but what happens if the cheapest tariff has exit fees? What happens if the cheapest tariff is online only? What happens if the cheapest tariff is by Direct Debit? Who wants to force their Grandmother onto a Direct Debit if they would prefer to pay at the Post Office?
MP for Woking 2005 -
TOTAL EXPERIENCE 44
Verdict: Tory win (or, more accurately, Labour loss).
Labour: You made your emotional case well - and the emotional case matters. But the Tories responded with 'aw yeah, we agree that's bad, but you're not doing anything to solve it.' You need to convince the public that your solution is actually a solution - especially if the Tories are going to occupy your ground and agree with the premise. We know fuel poverty is a problem in the UK. But what are you going to do about it, and how is the Tory critique wrong?
Conservatives: As I said, I think Labour lost more than you won, but you did make a very good policy unpicking of the energy cap - and agreeing with Labour's promise there was a problem that needed sorting helped as you parked on their territory. Picking apart Labour's solution only gets you so far - I wasn't really convinced you had one either, and the public aren't too. Gestures about competition are nice but what actual policy have you got? And if your policy is so great why are everyone's bills soaring? But, by virtue of making Labour look less credible, you look more credible.