Not so smug please, Mr Cameron

22nd November, 2012 10:50 am

David Cameron: you crowed about your ‘involvement’ with getting customers cheapest energy prices at PMQs this afternoon.  Here’s the reality.  Leaving aside for a moment the fact that what you proposed (‘Energy Companies will GIVE customers the lowest tariff’) has not happened, and indeed, as I have observed before would be almost a technical impossibility to execute, we now know the following:

  1. Following your intervention DECC went away and hurriedly worked out how to have a consultation on your proposal, and how to put it in the Energy Bill. They had not previously intended to do so, and were anticipating hearing what OFGEM might propose on the subject.
  2. They concluded that your proposal would not work, and instead opted to consult on proposals remarkably similar (sorry, I’m being kind: almost identical) with those published by OFGEM two days after your original intervention.  (See p8 of Ofgem consultation here)
  3. The OFGEM proposals, to reduce tariff numbers to four, are easily implementable by Ofgem, without further legislation as they said to Energy and Climate change Select Committee just recently (see ECCC oral evidence 30th October)
  4. If Ofgem’s proposals were implemented, they would come into place in the summer of 2013.
  5. Because of continuing delays to the Energy Bill, it is now certain to be a ‘carryover bill’, as the Secretary of State confirmed to DECC select committee yesterday. This means that the Bill along with any amendments to the legislation considered necessary by the new ‘consultation’ will not reach the statute books until the spring of 2014 at the earliest.  Secondary legislation then has to enact clauses in the Bill, which may include clauses now being written following the new consultation.

What this all means, Mr Cameron is this. If you had not intervened, had waited two days for OFGEM to report, and then had enquired about how their proposed mechanisms might work, you would be looking at a new tariff regime coming into place next summer. As it is, an identical new tariff regime will now not come into place until a year later.  Still pleased with yourself?

What you can do, still, is suggest that, after all if the new tariff regime is to be as OFGEM suggests, then legislation is not needed, and they can go ahead and use their powers to make the change.  As political expediency on this occasion appears to rank higher in your priorities than good policy-making, I’m pretty sure that won’t happen. But please stop saying you’re proud of what you’ve done when all you have achieved is to waste a year of energy customers’ time and money.

Alan Whitehead is the Labour MP for Southampton Test. This was first posted here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Graeme-Hancocks/1156294498 Graeme Hancocks

    He doesn’t care about facts! He is spin merchant, a PR snake oil salesman, a con man, only interested in making himself look good.

Latest

  • Comment Would calling for a ban on private school be electoral suicide?

    Would calling for a ban on private school be electoral suicide?

    If I’d had a vote in the last election I wouldn’t have voted Labour. I thought its flagship policies were too boring. Any government will invest money, regulate business and adjust taxes to nudge Britain in the direction it wants. Freezing energy bills may have been a good course of action, but what will win my vote are the policies that make a lasting impact. For me, Labour’s choice of leader is insignificant if the party’s biggest promises aren’t reformist […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Labour needs its centre-left more than ever

    Labour needs its centre-left more than ever

    I’ve decided who I am voting for, but for a lot of this campaign I’ve wanted to abstain, or go on holiday. It has been a pretty difficult time to be on the centre-left of the Labour Party . The quality has been low, and nobody fully reflects people on what we might call ‘the soft left’. Lots of people I respect, generally from the left of the party in some shape or form, have been hugely inspired during the Corbyn […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Featured Sajid Javid could be the sign the electorate is looking for that the Tory party has shed its ‘nasty party’ reputation

    Sajid Javid could be the sign the electorate is looking for that the Tory party has shed its ‘nasty party’ reputation

    This article is from the new Progress pamphlet ‘Face-off’, examining the potential successors to David Cameron as Conservative leader. You can read the full pamphlet here. Few leaders inspire true fear in their opponents. Those that do, do so because they force people to think again about the party they represent. Britain’s most electorally successful politicians, Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher, were able to reach such heights because they confounded the electorate’s expectations: Blair believed that wealth creation was not […]

    Read more →
  • Featured News Tony Blair hits out at Corbyn’s “politics of parallel reality”

    Tony Blair hits out at Corbyn’s “politics of parallel reality”

    Tony Blair has made a new intervention in the Labour leadership contest with an article in today’s Observer, which the paper has splashed with on the front page: The former Labour Prime Minister confesses that he doesn’t “get” frontrunner Jeremy Corbyn’s popularity, but claims that he is “trying hard” to understand it, and compares it to similar waves of support for Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders in the US presidential race. Blair also says he appreciates that his advice against […]

    Read more →
  • Featured News Unions Anti-trade union legislation could face legal challenge for contravening human rights

    Anti-trade union legislation could face legal challenge for contravening human rights

    Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper is ready to raise the prospect of challenging the Tories’ proposed anti-trade union laws in the courts, claiming it might contravene human rights legislation. Cooper says she has received legal advice that points to potential breaches of Article 11 of the European Convention of Human Rights, which preserves the right of freedom of association, including trade unions. The leadership contender will accuse the Conservatives of trying to use their position to cripple the opposition with […]

    Read more →
Share with your friends










Submit