Labour MP will bring in amendment to the Energy Bill to stop companies earning profits above inflation.
Concerns over energy profits have grown in recent months as the Big Six have all announced price rises of between 6% and 10% over recent months. Companies blame wholesale energy prices for rises and announce profits of 2%, but John Robertson MP, who sits on the energy committee, said accounts did not always show the true story. He said that money from the Government for investment into renewables is never printed and so profits could be much larger.
John Robertson MP said that the consumer was getting “an absolutely deplorable deal” and “we do not have that word trust attributed to the Big Six”.
The Energy Bill aims to tackle rising prices by providing stability in the energy markets, which will encourage investors to spend additional money. The Government has also expressed an interest in including an obligation in the Bill for companies to put all customers on the cheapest tariff.
John Robertson (Glasgow North West) (Lab): The Environment Secretary this week described wind turbines as “inappropriate technology which matured in the Middle Ages.” Does the Prime Minister agree? If not, why not?
The Prime Minister: We are making serious investments in renewable energy. We have set out a regime of subsidy that stretches right out to 2017 and beyond. That is why the renewable energy capacity of this country has doubled over the past two years under this Government.
With the electrical company going into administration, and thousands set to lose their jobs before Christmas, the Government has revealed the package of help available.
The company has been in trouble for some time, having been bought by a private investment company for £2 in February. It went into administration early last month and more than 1,000 people have already lost their jobs. With experts expecting more shop closures this month, Labour MP John Robertson demanded that help be given to those who will be losing their jobs, in a parliamentary question.
The Work and Pensions department has committed to working with JobCentre Plus, the Scottish Partnership for Action for Continuing Employment (PACE), Comet and Deloitte (the company’s administrator). Employees receiving redundancy will get a support factsheet, advice on job applications, an employee helpline and a network on the LinkedIn job website.
Mr Robertson MP said: “We need to act to make sure the irresponsible managers at Comet don’t run away and leave its thousands of employees with a miserable Christmas. I want to make sure people at least have some hope for 2013.”
“I am glad those who will sadly lose their jobs will receive some assistance. I think the Government could do more and in my role as MP, I am happy to work with Comet stores in my constituency to help people get back into work.”
The Government’s answer to the parliamentary question can be found here.
John Robertson, Labour MP for Glasgow North West, is calling on the Chancellor to cancel the government’s new year 3p per litre petrol tax rise that will hit local people hard when it comes into force on 1st January 2013.
He has slammed the Conservative-led Government for being out of touch with local people and the rising cost of living caused by the government’s failing economic policies.
“At a time when the cost of living is rising, our recovery is fragile and this out of touch government is giving 8,000 millionaires an average tax cut of over £107,000, it cannot be right to hit middle and low income families and small businesses with another tax rise.
“The price of petrol is now more than £1.36 a litre, a massive rise of 15p since the Tories came to power. People in Glasgow North West are really feeling the squeeze from the government’s VAT rise – which has added 3p to the price of a litre of petrol – and deep cuts to things like tax credits. So delaying January’s fuel duty rise, at least until April, would provide some much-needed financial relief.
“It’s really disappointing that Tory and Lib Dem MPs voted in the House of Commons against our plan to stop the new year fuel duty hike. But I will keep urging the government to change their minds and not hit local families and businesses so hard at this very difficult time for our economy.”
John Robertson MP is calling on the government to pay for this move by clamping down on identified tax avoidance loopholes. For example, there is a growing problem with some employment agencies forcing workers to become employees of an umbrella company. They then falsely inflate the worker’s travel and food expense claims, reducing tax and national insurance, and pocket the avoided tax as profits.
HM Revenue and Customs has forecast that these schemes cost the exchequer £650m a year but more recent estimates have put it as high as £1 billion a year. Delaying the fuel duty rise until April 2013 would cost around £350.