YVONNE FOVARGUE MP - We need fair energy prices for all

SOARING energy bills are driving up inflation and contributing to the cost of living crisis afflicting millions of families and pensioners.

Labour has set out plans to break up the dominance of the Big Six energy companies, allowing new entrants to enter the market, increasing competition and driving down bills for all families and businesses.

We want an energy market that works in the public interest and delivers fair prices for everyone.

I also believe there should be extra help for people that need it most. It is well established that elderly people are most vulnerable to the cold weather and least able to access the cheapest online deals, putting them at a greater risk of fuel poverty.

That’s why we should force the energy firms to ensure that all over-75s – there are more than 20,000 in our borough – are put on the cheapest tariff for their electricity and gas, which would help four million pensioners save as much as £200 a year.

Far from doing everything they can to help, this Government is making things worse, not better, for millions of hardworking families. Pensioners have seen their winter fuel payments cut, hundreds of thousands of families will miss out on help with their bills this year, and grants to support people to insulate their homes and make them more energy efficient have been cut.

At a time when families are facing record fuel bills and energy companies are enjoying huge profits, government needs to step in and support families.

Labour is prepared to stand up to powerful vested interests in the energy industry and to come up with plans to provide real help now, as well as reform the way our energy market works for the long term.

The energy companies should be compelled to ensure that all vulnerable pensioners and low-income families with children at risk of fuel poverty, and who receive the Cold Weather Payment, automatically receive the Warm Homes Discount.

Finally, we would help families make their homes more energy efficient by ensuring the Green Deal is offered on fair terms to consumers so it can contribute to reducing bills and keeping people warmer.