THE man bidding to oust Stephen Mosley as MP for Chester has backed plans to freeze energy prices.
Labour leader Ed Miliband says he’d freeze energy bills until 2017 if his party win the next election.
Three of the ‘big six’ energy firms have introduced inflation-busting price hikes this month and there’s pressure on the Government to act.
Chris Matheson, Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Chester, said the price freeze would save the average household £120 and business about £1,800.
He said: “We’ve just seen SSE, British Gas and Npower announce a rise in energy bills of over eight per cent and I expect others to follow as they have in the past.
“Under David Cameron, gas and electricity bills have rocketed, while at the same time living standards are falling with prices fast outstripping wage increases.”
Mr Matheson said families in Chester had seen living standards fall and the average energy bill had gone up about £300 per year since the Coalition came to power.
He has met with Shadow Energy Secretary Caroline Flint, who wants to break up the big six energy firms to make the market fairer.
Mr Matheson said: “We know things are tough out there for most people.
“The plan to freeze energy bills until 2017 will make a real difference to people and shows that Labour is on the side of ordinary people, not just giving support for corporate businesses.”
Ellesmere Port and Neston MP Andrew Miller has welcomed the proposed price freeze and believes many families are facing “a cost of living crisis”.
He said: “People are struggling to pay their bills and David Cameron has done nothing to assist.
“I’m being contacted by an increasing number of people who are facing real hardship and the ‘choice’ of whether to buy food, energy or pay the rent.
“When the price of energy increases, energy companies pass this on but when it drops, consumers don’t see their bills fall.”
But current Chester MP Stephen Mosley described the plans as a “gimmick” and believes energy companies would just increase their prices before and after the freeze.
He said: “It is a con. You can say you want to freeze prices but all that will do is put prices up beforehand and afterwards.
“If you read the small print, the freeze will not take place if wholesale energy prices go up.
“The freeze will only happen if wholesale prices go down which means people will be paying more, not less.”
Mr Mosley suggested the Labour could have contributed to the energy price rises seen this month.
He also attacked Labour’s record when they were in office. He said: “Ed Miliband was Energy Secretary when prices nearly doubled and he introduced all the green energy policies which have put prices up.
“Freezing would result in energy companies cutting down on their investment and threaten the lights going out.”