Delivering this year’s Autumn Statement, Chancellor George Osborne confirmed that green levies on energy bills would be cut and would consequently fall by roughly £50 per year, for the average household.
“Going green does not have to cost the earth,” said Osborne, who added that the cuts would not “add a penny to the tax bills” paid by British families.
Osborne: Labour’s price freeze is unworkable
He again derided Labour’s promise to freeze gas and electricity rates should Ed Miliband win the next election and said the government should focus on elements it can control such as levies on energy bills.
The implication was that Labour’s price freeze was unworkable as wholesale energy costs are uncontrollable.
Balls: ‘Nothing but a freeze will do’
Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls criticized the statement and slammed the government for not implementing a price freeze.
Balls underlined the issue that despite the cuts to green subsidies, energy bills would still rise this winter and households would continue to struggle to pay their bills.
He described the removal of green levies as “letting the energy companies completely off the hook – they’re not paying a penny” and added that for hard-pressed consumers “nothing but a freeze will do”.
Balls claimed the government’s strategy was favourable to energy companies and rich individuals and said: “They’re willing to stand up for the interests of the energy companies, the hedge funds and people earning over £150,000.
“They aren’t willing to stand up for the millions of families and pensioners in our country struggling with rising energy bills, falling wages and higher childcare costs”.
Winter energy price rises
At present, all but one of the big six energy companies have either raised prices or announced a winter price hike.
E.ON, the only company which has yet to increase gas and electricity bills, is expected to do so imminently. Industry sources report the German-owned company will reveal a 4% rise tomorrow.