Skip to content

Under-Fire Cameron Calls For Roll-Back Of Green Energy Taxes

Philippe Naughton, The Times

Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron appeared to signal a major shift in energy policy today as he told MPs that the Goverment should “roll back” costly environmental regulations and charges brought in by the last Labour government.

Mr Cameron suggested the plan as he came under pressure at Prime Minister’s Question from Ed Miliband, who taunted him over Sir John Major’s call yesterday for a windfall tax on energy companies.

The Prime Minister was further embarrassed when he was rebuked by the Commons Speaker, John Bercow, for twice calling Mr Miliband a “conman” for his promise to freeze energy bills if he wins the next election.

“Conman is, frankly, unparliamentary,” Mr Bercow said. “The Prime Minister is a man of great versatility in the use of language. It’s a bit below the level — we’ll leave it there.”

Mr Miliband’s promise to freeze prices for 20 months after the election has been dismissed by the Goverment as economically illiterate and impossible to implement, but appears to have struck a chord with voters.

A fresh round of price increases from the Big Six energy companies, which threatens to push average household energy bills past £1,500 a year, has added to the pressure on Mr Cameron to tackle the energy market.

In a lunch with political reporters yesterday, Sir John rejected the price freeze plan — although he said that Mr Miliband’s heart was “in the right place” — and called instead for a windfall tax on energy profits to help pay pensioners’ bills this winter.

A jubilant Labour leader reminded that Mr Cameron today of his comment that anyone who wanted to intervene in the energy markets was a “Marxist”.

“How does he feel now that the Red Peril has claimed Sir John Major,” he asked, pressing the Prime Minister to choose between either the windfall tax or an immediate price freeze.

In a move likely to put him at odds with the Liberal Democrats, Mr Cameron said that green regulations introduced by Mr Miliband as Energy Secretary, which add to household energy bills, would have to be ditched.

“We need to roll back some of the green regulations and charges that push up our bills. We all know who put them in place,” he said.

Full story (subscription required)