People round here tell me times are tough. Monthly bills are going up and people are working harder to make ends meet. That amounts to a cost of living crisis for people in Tameside and Stockport – and across the country.
The weather has been great this summer. But as the nights draw in and winter approaches people have been telling me they are worried about how cold it will get and the choices they will have to make to pay their energy bills. Frankly I don’t think that is right. People shouldn’t have to make the choice between putting food on the table and turning on the heating.
But since David Cameron has been in Downing Street prices have risen faster than wages in 38 out of 39 months and energy bills have gone up by almost £300. When the price of energy increases energy companies pass this on but when it drops consumers don’t see their bills fall. We received the news only this week that British Gas has jacked up its prices by 9.2%, yet its boss, Chris Weston, refuses to give up his £2million bonus. Tough times, eh?
The problem is David Cameron can’t deal with the cost of living crisis because he stands up for a privileged few, not for ordinary families. David Cameron has cut tax for people on over £150,000 a year while raising it for everyone else. Whilst the country cries out for action, he cannot see the reality on the ground because he and his colleagues are not affected by his actions. How many of the Cabinet will have struggled to pay for childcare so they can go to work?
I’m delighted that I was able to see Ed Miliband tell Labour Party Conference that Labour will freeze prices until the start of 2017 if Labour wins the next election. And he says we will break up the big energy companies so that we can all get a fair deal.
This will save a typical household £120 and an average business £1,800.
Today, the Energy Secretary – Lib Dem Ed Davey – sought inspiration from the Thatcher Government, shrugging and telling people to put a jumper on. I was shocked by his indifference to the latest round of energy increases, and it throws into stark contract the difference between Labour under Ed Miliband and this Tory and Lib Dem Government under David Cameron. Ed has pledged to freeze energy prices until 2017 if Labour wins the next election. David Cameron refuses to do anything.
But people round here need help now. So I’m calling on David Cameron to freeze our bills now. And I’m asking local people to sign our petition today so that your voices are heard loud and clear in Downing Street.
You can sign the petition here or tweet a picture of your bill with the hashtag #freezethatbill.