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News from Westminster – 16 March 2015

Labour will bring in new powers to cu​t your energy bills – and freeze prices until 2017

I’m delighted that Ed Miliband today announced that Labour will give the energy regulator the legal duty to ensure prices are fair and the power to cut energy bills this winter.

Freeze billsThe new legislation is being drafted to put an immediate end to the overcharging by the Big Six energy firms which consumer groups estimate is costing families and businesses £2.5 billion a year.

The Tory-led Government has admitted there is a problem with consumers being ripped off, but it has refused to act against the big energy firms.

Over the last year wholesale energy prices have fallen by an average of 20 per cent but the Big Six energy firms have reduced gas bills by a meagre one per cent to five per cent – while electricity bills have not been cut at all.

Labour has already declared that it would freeze prices – so they can only fall and not rise – for 20 months while the energy market is reset.

But the new plan announced today goes further by setting a clear timetable for changes so that consumers pay fair prices this coming winter.

In one of the first Bills of the new Parliament, Labour will give Ofgem a legal duty to review prices by the autumn – and the power to order price reductions in time for the winter.

The consumer group Which? says that further cuts of up to 10 per cent in gas and electricity bills should be made this year.

Such a reduction would save the typical family at least £100 this winter, on top of the savings they will get from Labour’s plan to freeze gas and electricity bills until 2017.

 

Labour wants the next generation to be the first that is smoke free

Cancer Awareness roadshow visits WestminsterI welcome this week’s vote in favour of standardised packaging of tobacco. It is a fantastic victory for children’s health and experts say it will make children less likely to take up smoking, and so will ultimately save lives.

This measure is endorsed by health experts and has the overwhelming support of the public and Parliament. It’s a shame that it has taken years of delays, prevarication and squabbling amongst Tory MPs for us to reach this point.

David Cameron has been reluctant to stand up to big tobacco firms and their lobbyists, and has failed to show leadership on this issue. In the time that has passed since Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of this over a year ago, experts say over 200,000 children would have taken up smoking.

One child taking up smoking is one too many.

Labour wants the next generation to be the first that is smoke-free. The Government must now press ahead without delay to ensure that glitzy packaging for cigarettes becomes a thing of the past.

 

We need a better plan to tackle the housing crisis.

Labour will recapture the spirit of post war house building

Toby pointingThe next Labour Government will make tackling the housing crisis a national priority – recapturing the spirit of post war house building.

David Cameron’s housing plan has failed. Over the past five years, David Cameron has presided over the lowest levels of house building in peace time since the 1920s.

Britain needs a better plan because we can’t afford another five years of gimmicks and half- baked schemes which has left a record number of young people still living at home with their parents in their twenties and thirties because they can’t afford to get on the housing ladder.

New figures out this week confirm things are set to get worse under this failed plan.  Home ownership levels will fall to their lowest levels for 40 years with more than two in five people expected to rent. Only one in five people under the age of 35 will own their own home, half as many as in 2010.

Labour has a better plan for working people, which will get 200,000 homes built a year by 2020.

We will make tackling the housing crisis a national priority but give local communities stronger powers to build the homes they need in the places people want to live. Labour’s plan will be better for first time buyers too giving them priority access rights in new ‘Housing Growth Areas’.

The time has come for Labour’s better plan and a better future for young people and their families.

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Welcome

I am Toby Perkins, Labour's Member of Parliament for Chesterfield. If you would like to get in touch with me, my office is open and can be reached by phone on 01246 386 286. I also hold regular surgeries so that constituents can meet me and I can take up their concerns. If you would like to make an appointment then please do contact my office. Thank you for visiting.

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