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Halfon backs Major on energy tax

Politics / Wed 23rd Oct 2013 at 10:05am

HARLOW MP, Robert Halfon has backed the former prime minister, Sir John Major’s proposal for an emergency “excess profits tax” on the ‘Big Six’ energy firms.

Mr Halfon said: “I think there are three principles here. First of all, one of responsible capitalism, and we’ve got to make that the energy companies are behaving properly and fairly; we’ve got to ensure that they are fair to the public; and we have to have a relentless focus on the cost of living.

“So I think a windfall tax as part of a package of measures on the energy companies that are charging customers too much and giving themselves hefty pay rises is the right thing to do, but with the proviso that it needs to be done in conjunction with the reducing of green taxes and in the long term, reducing VAT on our energy bills, albeit that this will require changes in European Union law.”

“I think the Government are listening. They have a relentless focus on the cost of living: they’ve frozen fuel duty; they’ve frozen council tax; they’re trying to put people on the cheapest energy tariffs and extend competition, and I think all ideas are welcome. I favour a windfall tax on some of these energy companies because I think we need to show the public that actually, yes, we think prices are too excessive and the profits made by the energy companies are too high.”

Mr Halfon argued Ed Miliband’s pledge to freeze energy bills if Labour wins the next general election would be counterproductive.

“This problem’s not going to be solved overnight, and that’s why what Ed Miliband’s proposing is so seductive but fundamentally wrong, because it suggests an overnight solution but actually all it does is mean higher prices in the short term and higher prices in the long term.”

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