Domestic Gas and Electricity (Tariff Cap) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:49 pm on 6th March 2018.

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Photo of Robert Halfon Robert Halfon Chair, Education Committee 3:49 pm, 6th March 2018

I would normally be pleased to take interventions but, if the hon. Gentleman does not mind, I will not give way because of the demands on time. There are a lot of speakers and Madam Deputy Speaker has asked us to cut down our contributions.

My next point is about injecting competition into the market that is currently dominated by the big six. We have a problem because, although this is very much about competition in the private sector, energy is actually a public good. The Government need to do much more to support not-for-profit providers. Gareth Thomas mentioned co-operatives, of which I am very supportive. Robin Hood Energy, launched by Nottingham City Council, is an example of a not-for-profit provider. Although we need market competition, we need to look much more at the co-operative model when we are talking about a public good. I do not believe in nationalisation, but I do think that we should have not-for-profit models in essential services, because energy is the lifeblood of our country and, without it, we would be in the dark ages. For too long, to use a well-known phrase, the market has been dominated by the few, not the many.

I very much support the Bill because it is the right thing to do symbolically. It sets the tone of what this Government are about—helping the most vulnerable. It is also the right thing to do practically. To me, this is not an argument about big government or small government; it is simply an argument about good government.