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UK Politics

Ed Miliband: PM must tackle surcharge culture


Ed Miliband today challenged David Cameron to tackle the "surcharge culture" that sees consumers "fleeced" by powerful vested interests.

The Labour leader pointed to above-inflation train fare increases, rising energy prices, excessive bank overdraft charges, hidden charges by low cost airlines and pension administration charges where the Government needed to step in and act.

Speaking at the offices of the consumer organisation Which?, he said ministers needed to show they understood the limits to competition and the need for effective legislation.

While he said that the Prime Minister had begun to move on to this political ground, he said he had yet to show he was serious about tackling "irresponsible capitalism".

"The challenge for David Cameron is to be judged by deeds, not words," he said.

"I don't believe this Prime Minister understands this agenda. What we need is a government willing to take action to stand up for consumer."

Mr Miliband said consumers were losing out because of the Government's failure to tackle such issues as the "rigged" energy market, controlled by six companies.

"It is what I call the surcharge culture," he said.

"It is a culture where companies take advantage of consumers who can't shop around, who don't have the information to shop around or are powerless in the face of powerful vested interests."