1 December 2013: …is not anywhere on Number 10 or DECC’s websites but behind a ‘paywall’ in today’s edition of the Sun on Sunday. But is now also reproduced below:
Cameron: We can help the poorest and stick to our green policies
Coalition on pledge to keep energy bills down
By DAVID CAMERON, Prime Minister, and NICK CLEGG, Deputy Prime Minister
LABOUR leader Ed Miliband rocked Westminster with his pledge of a 20-month freeze on energy bills.
While ministers scoffed it wouldn’t work, they were stung by its popular appeal with voters.
Now after two months of head-scratching, they have come up with an alternative plan to keep prices down.
Here the Prime Minister and his Lib Dem deputy reveal plans to slash £50 off the average bill – and explain how they’ll do it:
BECAUSE of the hard work of the British people, and because we have stuck to our long-term economic plan, Britain’s economy is now on the mend – and we’re determined to help families in every way we can.
The Coalition is offering real help in these hard times: income tax cuts, a council tax freeze, a fuel duty freeze and free school meals for young children.
We have only been able to do this because we have taken difficult decisions and our economic plan is working.
This week, we will announce further help: proposals that will be worth around £50 on average to energy bill-payers.
We’re doing it without taking any help away from poor families or sacrificing our green commitments; and in a way that will keep Britain’s lights on in the long-term too.
When you look at your bill you see it is made up of various costs. Some of these we can’t control.
Most of what you pay is determined by the price of energy in the global market – the gas and oil we’re buying from the Middle East or Europe.
Politicians in the UK cannot wave a magic wand over these prices. To pretend you can is fantasy politics.
But there are bits that government can control – the parts of your bill that go to helping the poorest families heat their homes and to making Britain more energy efficient.
Some say we should drop these commitments entirely but we do not agree. As we approach winter, we refuse to turn our backs on the worst-off families. And if we abandon our green commitments, it is our children and grandchildren who will pay the price.
This Coalition Government has never pursued quick fixes today when they’ll hurt people tomorrow – and we’re not going to start now.
So we are going to stick to these commitments but we are not going to ask you to pay for all of them through your bills.
The two million poorest families who currently receive a discount on gas and electricity will continue to do so, but Government will pay for it. We’re able to afford this because we have cracked down on tax avoidance – leaving us more money to help struggling families. We are also changing the way we fund improving energy efficiency in Britain’s homes.
We will all be better off when our homes lose less heat, so we want the energy companies to help insulate as many homes as possible over the next decade.
But – apart from in the worst-off homes – we’re going to spread the costs of these programmes over a longer time frame, reducing people’s bills.
And to make sure we carry on cutting enough carbon, the Government will pay for new incentives for people to insulate their homes.
Alongside the Green Deal, when you buy a new home you could get up to £1,000 from Government to spend on energy-saving measures – equivalent to half the stamp duty on the average house – or even more for particularly expensive measures.
It is an all-round win. Better insulation means cheaper bills, it will cut carbon emissions and boost British businesses who provide these services.
On top of that, we will offer cash incentives to landlords of the least energy-efficient properties so that, when they are between tenants, they can better insulate their properties. And we’ll also make sure our schools and hospitals are more energyefficient, too.
Taken together, these things mean we will meet our green commitments and support those employed in the insulation industry but, crucially, without putting the cost on energy customers.
Labour have promised a temporary price freeze on energy bills. But they’re taking people for fools. Energy companies would hike up prices both before and after the freeze – so families would end up paying more.
Not only that, by cutting investment in green energy, their freeze would threaten thousands of jobs.
Labour’s con is the worst of all worlds. When an offer sounds too good to be true it usually is.
The Coalition has come up with a serious and credible plan that actually works.
By taking the time to get this right, we’ve got the best outcome all round. No poor family will lose a penny of help.
Our clean energy sector will get the investment it needs, the lights will stay on and we will cut just as much carbon as we planned.
Instead of a fake giveaway, we’ve found another way to support Britain’s hard-pressed families when they need it most.