The chancellor has promised “thousands of jobs, billions of pounds of investment and lower energy bills” today as he announced plans to boost Britain's fledgling shale gas industry by cutting in half taxes on fracking.
The shale gas tax cut – from 62 per cent to 30 per cent - was part of a well-trailed series of measures announced today that are designed to reduce energy bills while boosting the fracking industry.
The other measures include a £50 reduction in annual household energy bills as George Osborne watered down varies green levies, including the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), which obliges the big six to insulate some of the poorest households.
He also cancelled next year’s 2p rise in the price of a litre of petrol prices, the latest in a series of price freezes which means people are now paying 20p less a litre than they would under a Labour government, Osborne said.
Taking a swipe at Ed Miliband’s recent pledge to freeze energy bills if elected prime minister, Osborne said: “We are not pretending we can control world oil prices, we are focusing on what governments can and should control….We are supporting the lowest income families, reducing carbon and supporting investment in renewables,” he said.
Ed Balls, the shadow chancellor, responded by saying Osborne’s move to cut energy bills represented a “panicked and half-baked attempt to steal Labour’s clothes”.