Labour have thawed on their promise to freeze energy prices. Having decided to fight the next election on the “cost of living crisis”, they came up with this spectacular gimmick to grab some favourable headlines. Their focus groups and spin-doctors saw that people were struggling with high energy prices and rather than address the root causes they came up with a sticking plaster solution: the next Labour government would freeze energy prices till 2017.
Like most Labour policies this price freeze was plagued with unintended consequences. Even the possibility of this policy being enacted has kept fuel bills higher than they would otherwise have been this winter. The energy market, understandably and entirely predictably, factored this potential freeze in May into their pricing. Energy costs have fallen, but thanks to Mr Miliband, our bills have not. Why would any company lower their charges when they know PM Miliband would impose a freeze in May? Labour are not just politically inept, they are dangerous, even in opposition.
This week one of the ‘big six’ energy companies has, belatedly, lowered it’s charges. When one makes a move, the others usually follow. Labour are now furiously back peddling. Their flagship policy has been exposed as counter productive and unworkable. It has dawned on them that a price freeze works both ways, and would keep prices high in a falling market. So they are spinning that the “freeze” was always meant to be a “cap” on prices. This is just not credible. Every announcement, every interview, every headline billed the policy as a freeze. Labour’s authoritarian tendency to rig the market would have been a disaster.
If anyone reading this is thinking of voting Labour, could you please tell me what it is you are voting for? I cannot remember an opposition party, so close to an election, with so little policy on offer. The energy freeze was about as wrong-headed as it’s possible to be, laughable in fact, but at least it was a concrete policy.
Of course there is one party who have a sensible, sustainable energy policy that will lower bills. A policy that, to borrow a much abused phrase from the Tories, is not afraid to take the difficult decisions needed. UKIP will repeal Ed Miliband’s Climate Change Act 2008 which costs the economy £18bn a year. Along with abolishing green taxes, this will immediately lower energy bills.
UKIP supports a diverse energy market, including coal, nuclear, shale gas, geo-thermal, tidal, solar, conventional gas and oil. UKIP will scrap the Large Combustion Plant Directive and encourage the re-development of British power stations. The huge potential of shale gas must be exploited, with proper safeguards for the local environment. Shale has the potential to lower our fuel bills, as well as raising funds from a Community Improvement Levy money from the development of shale gas fields.
Wind farms are a costly nightmare. As it’s only taxpayer’s money that makes the windmills go round, UKIP would give no new subsidies for wind farms and solar arrays. Bad news for David Cameron’s father-in-law, who gets £3.5million a year from the taxpayer for the wind farms on his estate, but he’ll just have to manage somehow.
If you want lower energy bills and for Britain to keep the lights on there is only one option in May – Vote UKIP.