Energy Bills: George Osborne Fulfils £50 pledge in autumn statement

The chancellor George Osborne pledged to cut energy bills by £50 a year in this week’s autumn statement but campaigners are still saying that thousands of low earners will be worse off under the new scheme.

Osborne outlined a plan that will see green levies lifted from the power companies and a rebate paid by the government themselves. These levies have been “piled on” fuel bills by energy secretaries over the years so this is the governments only way of reducing energy charges without affecting the profitability of the nation’s energy firms.

In the autumn statement he said: “This week we deliver on the promise made by the prime minister to roll back those levies. The result: an average of £50 off family bills. We're doing this in a way that supports the lowest income families. Reduces carbon. Supports investment in our energy infrastructure. And as the document shows, does not add a penny to the tax bill families pay.”

The chancellor has also lowered the taxes placed on frackers who search for shale gas, so energy firms will now pay 30% rather than the production income tax of 62%. “The country that was the first to extract oil and gas from deep under the sea should not turn its back on new sources of energy like shale gas because it's all too difficult. A new tax allowance to encourage investment in shale gas that halves tax rates on early profits.”

This all sounds very positive to the untrained ear but fuel poverty experts are claiming that the £50 saving will slow down the timetable that forces the big six energy companies to install energy efficient materials to homes. “Osborne is axing insulation for tens of thousands of the poorest households, condemning thousands of families to cold and damp homes with unaffordable high bills for decades,” Clare Welton from Fuel Poverty Action warned.

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