Sunday, 14 September 2008

Chancellor should tax oil profits and cut fuel bills

10 September 2008

Caroline Lucas has hit out at Alistair Darling after the Chancellor again failed to make a decision on a windfall tax on excess energy profits, which Dr Lucas first called for three months ago.

Darling was speaking at the TUC Congress in Brighton, where delegates had earlier backed a call for a tax on the energy giants. He also remained non-committal on the key Green policy of providing free insulation through mandatory energy company contributions, saying energy firms had to "do more" but declining to take action to compel them.

Dr Lucas said:

"Darling is dithering over windfall tax just as he dithered over Northern Rock. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands are slipping into fuel poverty, having to choose whether to heat or to eat.

"He says he's 'listening' to calls for a windfall tax, but that's not enough - he has to act. People urgently need help to get through the winter, and we need to get to work insulating homes to cut bills in the future."

The Green leader first called for a windfall tax to pay for measures to cut bills three months ago, and renewed the demand in her inaugural speech to the Green Party conference last Saturday.

In the same address, she placed the policy of insulation at the heart of a Green New Deal to tackle recession, rising fuel prices and climate change:

"The core [of the Green New Deal] would be a 21st century project to make the nation's buildings truly energy efficient ... a major investment in insulation, efficiency and renewables, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs in the process.

"And indeed Greens have already started doing this. In Kirklees, for example, Green councillors have spearheaded an initiative to ensure that every home receives free insulation."£10 million of investment has been leveraged from energy companies, saving the average family around £150 per year off their heating bills."

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