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Energy Prices

Volume 574: debated on Tuesday 28 January 2014

11. What recent assessment he has made of the effect of domestic energy prices on consumer price inflation. (902218)

Consumer price inflation was 2% in December. That is the first time it has been at or below the 2% target since November 2009. It is well below half the peak of 5.2% in September 2011. The Office for Budget Responsibility is responsible for producing independent economic and fiscal forecasts, and factored in energy prices in the latest forecasts for consumer price inflation.

Given what the Minister says about inflation, in plain English, can she tell us whether she accepts that the energy bills of my constituents and those of all hon. Members have gone up this winter? Does she think that is good or bad for them and our economy?

I thank the hon. Lady for her questions. Yes, energy bills have gone up, but how come she voted for a decarbonisation target last autumn that would have added a further £125 to all average bills?

Will my hon. Friend look at the impact of domestic energy prices on off-grid customers and try to find common measures to enable them to access lower energy prices?

I certainly will do so. I am sure my hon. Friend welcomes the moves the Government have made so far—in the autumn statement 2013—to cut £50 off household bills. Of course, we would like to do more, working with the companies.

23. What assessment has been made of the impact on fuel poverty of the proposed changes to the carbon emissions reduction obligation funding, which will prevent insulation work from being carried out on hard-to-treat cavity properties, particularly in the north? (902230)

I am interested to hear the hon. Lady’s question, as she also voted for the decarbonisation target that would have added £125 to bills. However, I am sure she welcomed the winter fuel payments made to 14,000 people in her constituency in winter 2012-13. This Government are on the side of helping people to deal with the rising cost of their fuel bills. In autumn statement 2013, we extended the energy company obligation target, but we have certainly not given up on it.