Britain’s Labour party will freeze gas and electricity bills until 2017 and force reform of the British utility market if it wins power in the May 2015 election, party leader Ed Miliband said today.
Miliband told party activists at the annual Labour conference in the English seaside resort of Brighton he would impose a cap on business and consumer energy bills until January 2017, forcing suppliers to bear what a Labour source close to Miliband said could cost 4.5 billion pounds ($7.2 billion).
“The bills will not rise. It will benefit millions of families and millions of businesses.” Miliband added.
The policy could appeal to voters as rising energy costs have been a major factor in the squeeze on Britons’ wealth, with prices consistently going up faster than wages over the last three years.
The majority of polls show Labour is on course to win the 2015 election, but its lead over David Cameron’s Conservative party has narrowed in recent months.
“The companies aren’t going to like this because it will cost them more. But they’ve been overcharging people for too long because of a market that doesn’t work. It’s time to reset the market.”
Earlier, Labour’s energy spokeswoman Caroline Flint said the party would force companies to split up their energy generation and consumer sales businesses and require all electricity to be pooled and traded on the open market.
Britain is Europe’s largest gas consumer due to the high amount of heaters fired by gas and is one of the top three traded electricity markets in Europe.