Energy Company Licence Revocation

Part of Opposition Day — [5th allotted day] – in the House of Commons at 3:44 pm on 3rd September 2014.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Amber Rudd Amber Rudd The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change 3:44 pm, 3rd September 2014

It is always partly carrot and stick, is it not? We have to make clear to consumers what the opportunity is; otherwise, they are going to be reluctant to change. However, I am sure that we can, and I hope to win over my hon. Friend’s support in due course.

Nia Griffith spoke about her concerns for consumers, and she has done so on many occasions. I am just concerned that she feels so strongly about this one motion and feels that the proposal would be a silver bullet to sort out the problems for consumers. I cannot share her view.

It was a pleasure to hear from my hon. Friend David Mowat, who is very experienced in the market in general. He made the point that the Opposition’s proposal, although worthy of consideration, completely fails to convince because it has no example and therefore no factual base. In his focus on lower prices for consumers, he pointed out we have the lowest gas costs in Europe. He demolished Labour’s energy policy with particular focus on how it lets consumers down.

Julie Hilling again focused her rationale on the Labour proposal as though it were some sort of silver bullet to rectify the entire market. We are taking action to rectify that market and we are making progress. She insists that this power is needed while failing—as did her fellow Labour Members—to give an example of which company would be liable to this nuclear option and why.

I was delighted to hear from my hon. Friend Heather Wheeler who made a powerful speech, as always, about the importance of investment in energy in her constituency, and expressed her concern that this Opposition proposal is gesture politics and would undermine crucial investment that we are securing from international investors.

Tom Blenkinsop chose to comment on the difference between our parties regarding regulation. I cannot let that pass. He had the temerity to refer to the regulation of the banks in 2007. The banks were regulated by the Bank of England for decades until Labour’s tripartite arrangement, which was an unmitigated disaster. If the House needs evidence of the results of Labour’s regulation, it need look no further than the banking crisis. The hon. Gentleman was also wrong on fuel poverty, which is falling, and wrong on the support that we are rightly giving to consumers.