CALL FOR FUEL POVERTY TAX

Energy companies that make “excessive profit” should be taxed by the energy regulator, say a group of Labour MPs.

The MPs want the Government’s Energy Bill to include the proposal, and they are calling for support on their amendment. The announcement comes just days after British Gas, which raised prices by 6% late last year, reported profits of £606 million. John Robertson and Jim Sheridan want to see Ofgem given full access to company accounts and then permission to fine any companies that are seen to be making excessive profits at the expense of the consumer.

Mr Robertson, who sits on the Energy select committee, hopes it will put a stop to cases like that of Iberdrola, the parent company of Scottish Power, which transferred £800m to the US, while raising prices in this country. He said: “The energy companies hold us to ransom and it is about time they started giving us a fair deal. I am convinced they hide their accounts in different pots so it looks as though they only make small profits. If there was a real threat that this sort of behaviour had a consequence, I don’t think we would see the sort of price rises we have been seeing over the last few years.”

Mr Sheridan spoke about how they would use the money to tackle fuel poverty. He said: “40% of the population is in fuel poverty or struggling to pay bills and this is due to Big Six greed. If they were seen to be exploiting their customers, then the fine should be used to help those who are suffering the most. It is about time they took responsibility for their decisions.”

The amendment can be found here.

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