Mike Weir – 2008 Comments on Government’s Energy Proposals

The comments made by Mike Weir, the then SNP MP for Angus, on 9 November 2008.

After hinting all summer that immediate help was on the way, Gordon Brown has delivered a chilly response to the one million Scots in fuel poverty.

By failing to impose a windfall tax on energy companies, the Prime Minister has ruled out immediate help for the thousands of Scottish families facing a bleak winter.

The increase in insulation and other fuel efficiency measures are welcome for the longer term, but will do nothing to deal with the immediate problem. Very few households will benefit in time to reduce bills this coming winter.

This whole package is far too little, far too late and shows that the energy companies have won the battle with the UK government. Mr Brown failed to clarify how he will ensure that costs are not passed back to the consumer.

A government with any ounce of sense would impose more measures now, for example ensure a mandatory minimum tariff, real transparency in social tariffs, a speedy roll out of smart meters and introduction of social tariffs into the home fuel market, as well as ensuring that there is immediate help for those facing a tough winter.

Disconnections are rising rapidly, and many on pre payment meter users may self disconnect over the winter as they will be unable to pay escalating costs. Mr Brown suggests customers cut their bills with direct debit but fails to realise many of the poorest energy users cannot pay their bills in this way.

Gordon Brown has yet again proved he is completely out of touch with the concerns of ordinary Scots. Perhaps voters in Glenrothes will remind him before the winter really starts to bite.