Andrew Smith MP

On your side in Oxford East

Delivering an energy market people can trust

OXFORDSHIRE_G_2013.jpgA key factor in the cost of living crisis is rising energy bills. 

This week we've seen a staggering 8 per cent price rise for some hard pressed consumers, with further price rises planned in coming weeks. 

But while Ed Miliband has announced plans to freeze energy bills while resetting the market, the government had no answer to the problem of sky-high bills when challenged at Prime Minister's Questions last week.

It is clear that the government can't deal with cost of living problems like soaring energy bills because they put a privileged few before the majority of hard working people.

Energy bills have risen by an average of £300 since the coalition government were elected in 2010, while energy companies' profits have shot up. Businesses say that energy bills are the second biggest cost they face. When wholesale prices rise, the energy companies pass the costs on to consumers -- but when they fall, bills stay high.

Labour's energy plan will see gas and electricity bills frozen from the General Election to 2017 -- enough time to reform the energy market -- making sure it works for  families and businesses instead of ripping them off. The plans will save a typical household £120 and the average business £1,800.  You can see how much you could save by visiting www.freezethatbill.com

This is one of a set of policies from Labour to tackle the cost of living crisis head on.  Ed Miliband has also pledged to strengthen the minimum wage, and to provide 25 hours of free childcare a week for three and four year olds in England.  I'm right behind Ed on this, because I think people deserve better. They need a government that fights for them and is on their side. 

The government are saying the economy is recovering, but news that the economy is in recovery will come as a surprise for many people who are still feeling the pinch, with pay rises continuing to trail behind the cost of living for the longest period in over a century.  Instead of telling people things are getting better, the government needs to start listening to families and businesses who really need help.

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