'A catastrophe': Shadow Chancellor hits out at govt over spiralling energy costs

9 January 2022, 12:11

The Shadow Chancellor told LBC: "Broken promises won&squot;t pay people&squot;s bills"
The Shadow Chancellor told LBC: "Broken promises won't pay people's bills". Picture: Alamy

By Elizabeth Haigh

Labour Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves has hit out at the government over its inaction on spiralling energy bills.

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Ms Reeves told LBC's Swarbrick on Sunday show: "For the last decade we’ve had dither and delay on energy policy."

She said consumers could face bill hikes of more than £600 from April this year if no action is taken to try and lower prices.

"This would be a catastrophe," she told Tom Swarbrick.

The Shadow Chancellor also criticised the UK's reliance on energy from abroad.

"We are so reliant on imported gas from Russia and Qatar and elsewhere.

"That is not a secure energy policy."

Ms Reeves set out Labour's plans to achieve Net Zero through a £28billion investment every year, as well as a VAT cut from 5% to 0% on energy.

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She also explained plans for a windfall tax on oil industry profits in an attempt to cut the public's rapidly increasing energy bills, a move she described as "targeting the spike in bills".

"That is a fair way to keep bills down," Ms Reeves said. "It's the right thing to do."

She called for an extra 10% surcharge tax on oil profits, advocating the policy that was first introduced under George Osborne a decade ago.

Ms Reeves criticised Prime Minister Boris Johnson for advocating for leaving the EU on the promise of being free to lower VAT rates, but refusing to do so now.

She said: "Broken promises are not going to pay the bills."

She said she would "take some of the things George Osborne has done but not the austerity".

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Ms Reeves called for the retrofitting of insulation in 19 million UK homes that do not meet energy efficiency standards.

The Shadow Chancellor said Labour would spend £6billion a year fitting two million homes with new insulation, which she claims would save householders £400 a year on bills.

She added if the UK takes these measures and invests in renewable energy, Britain will become a "global leader" in "industries of the future".

The Shadow Chancellor said her proposals are "fully costed, fully paid-for measures."

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