Cameron risks coalition split on green taxes

Suzie Neuwirth
THE RIFT in the Coalition widened yesterday, after Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron pledged to “roll back” the green energy levies strongly supported by the Liberal Democrats.

His coalition partners dismissed the announcement as a panicky policy that had been “made up on the a party getting cold feet on the environment”.

According to government figures, green taxes add £112 to an annual household bill, and have been repeatedly blamed by energy firms as a key driver of price rises.

During Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday, Cameron said that energy bills were at “unacceptable levels” and vowed to launch an annual review into competition in the energy sector.

The review will be overseen by Ofcom, the Office of Fair Trading and the Capital Markets Association. It is thought that it will examine the openness of the wholesale market and consumer issues such as switching times.

Speaking at an event in London today, Labour leader Ed Miliband is expected to accuse Cameron of having “made up a policy on energy” and being “too weak” to stand up for the consumer.

A heated political debate into energy prices and the cost of living has exploded over the past month, since Miliband pledged to freeze energy bills if elected. Since then, several big six energy firms have announced price hikes and former Prime Minister Sir John Major has called for a one-off windfall tax on energy firms’ profits.