Brent MP accuses government of wasting chance to combat fuel poverty

Barry Gardiner believes not enough done to stop energy providers monopolising the market

A Brent MP has accused the government of wasting an opportunity to combat fuel poverty.

Barry Gardiner, Labour MP for Brent North, said the government needs to make bigger changes following a White Paper being published yesterday (Tuesday).

The politician believes the Electricity Reform Bill does not go far enough to stop the six biggest energy providers monopolising the market.

He said: “The White Paper was suppose to be about affordable electricity, security of supply and about moving towards low carbon energy production and distribution. It is none of these.

“We are left ruining a wasted opportunity from a government with a narrow understanding of what is required to genuinely reform Britain’s electricity market.

“Fiddling with subsidies and structures around the market, rather than reforming the market itself, by breaking the vertical integration of the six biggest energy providers, will do little more than bring in minor cosmetic changes to the balance sheets of the ‘Big Six’.”

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But Chris Huhne, secretary of state for energy and climate change, believes the reform will keep bills down.

He said: “We have consulted widely and we believe our reforms represent the best deal for Britain.

“They will get us off the hook of relying so heavily in imported fossil fuels by creating a greener, cleaner and potentially cheaper mix of electricity sources here in the UK.”