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Cost of Living

Volume 552: debated on Tuesday 6 November 2012

The Government have taken wide-ranging action to support households. We cut fuel duty last year and have kept it frozen since then. We have also helped those in work by raising the personal allowance by £1,100 in April 2013—the largest tax cut for the median earner in more than a decade. The Government recently announced another year of a council tax freeze and a reduction of the rail fare cap for two further years.

A major factor in the costs facing families across the United Kingdom is the rapidly increasing cost of energy. Does my hon. Friend agree that Governments have a responsibility to limit such increases as far as possible, including the costs to energy users of paying for the unsustainably large subsidies paid to onshore wind farm developers?

My hon. Friend is right to raise the issue of energy prices. The Government are doing what they can on that front. We are supporting Ofgem’s work in ensuring that there is competition in the energy markets, and of course we are determined to do what we can to get people on lower tariffs.

Does the Minister accept that the Government’s increase in VAT has led to 5p on a pint of beer and 3p on a litre of fuel?

We have to take action to try to deal with the deficit that we inherited, and let us not forget that. The hon. Gentleman mentions fuel. Because of the steps that we have taken on fuel duty, petrol pump prices could be as much as 10p lower per litre than they would have been had we stuck with the fuel duty escalator that we inherited.