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Scottish Energy Minister brands Labour’s price freeze ‘unworkable’

He said the initiative would result in price rises before and after the freeze as well as a lack of investment in the UK’s energy industry

Ewing said Labour’s plan to block price rises could result in black outs

Speaking at Holyrood, Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing told MPs Labour’s plan to block price rises could lead to black outs.

He drew a parallel between the proposals and what happened in California in 2000, when prices were frozen and blackouts occurred.

To counter rising prices, Ewing suggested the creation of a new regulator for an independent Scotland, which would supervise the water, energy, rail and telecoms industries.

Ed Miliband’s proposal would see energy prices rises blocked for 20 months, should Labour be elected in 2015.

‘Companies will whack the prices sky-high’

Ewing said: “Consumer experts have said that before this freeze comes in the companies will whack the prices sky-high and companies may put off decisions by energy companies to invest in new cleaner generation capacity.

“An arbitrary price freeze has been tried before in California in 2000, which led to blackouts and an increase in the wholesale price of 800%.

“Never can I recall a measure introduced by a leader of a major political party in the UK which has received such widespread, utter and total condemnation as being completely unworkable.

“And worst of all for Scotland, such an arbitrary measure threatens to impair the essential investment in renewable energy schemes which are so important for this country.”

‘Ewing spoke today for the energy companies’

Ewing had been responding to Labour’s former Scottish leader Iain Gray, who had challenged the Scottish National Party to match Labour’s price freeze promise.

Following the discussion at Holyrood, Gray said: “Sadly, the SNP has chosen the side of the big energy firms over hard-pressed families being hit with growing energy bills.

“Ed Miliband’s plan to freeze energy bills and reform the energy market was welcomed by families who will be dismayed that the SNP government has failed to match this pledge.

“Not only are the SNP refusing to support a price freeze, they have set their face against a regulator with the power to control prices in the long run. Fergus Ewing spoke today for the energy companies and against the Scottish consumer.”

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  • Jane Fleming

    I am their customer not a beneficiary shareholder and i dont believe a word of this statement

  • Pete

    Stupid idea. Companies will sharply increase their prices just before Miliband’s freeze. He’s trying to be popular but to late

  • dougal crossley

    At least Miliband is trying something, while that clown Ewing is sitting on his bum and picking his nose!

  • sunofabeach

    Millipede has come up with this crafty rouse in the hope that the Energy Companies will bump prices higher than normal now and next year so that he can blame the Tories. A typical dirty socialist trick to gain votes!
    People should remember that Socialists cannot tell the truth because if they ever did no-one would ever vote for them again!