'A gimmick': David Cameron hits out at Ed Miliband in PMQs clash over Labour energy price freeze vow

Labour leader says PM has 'no answer' to pledge introduced last month

Theo Usherwood
Wednesday 09 October 2013 16:51 BST

Labour's pledge to freeze energy prices is nothing more than a gimmick, Prime Minister David Cameron said today.

Mr Cameron attacked Ed Miliband's promise to freeze prices for 20 months after the next general election, telling MPs that even the Labour leader admitted he may not be able to keep to his commitment because no Government could control the wholesale energy markets.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Cameron said if Mr Miliband did introduce the price freeze, it would only lead to higher energy costs for households and businesses in the long-term.

Turning to the Labour leader, Mr Cameron said: "This isn't a policy, it's a gimmick and the reason it's a gimmick is that you are in favour of a decarbonisation target that would add £125 to everybody's bill.

"Now it is obvious why you want to talk about the cost of living, because you do not have an economic policy any more."

Mr Cameron added: "Isn't it the case that what you are promising is a price increase before a promise, a broken promise, and then a price increase after a promise? One price increase, one broken promise, another price increase.

"That sounds like every Labour government since the war."

But Mr Miliband hit back, telling the Prime Minister he had no answer to Labour's new policy to freeze energy prices, which was introduced last month at the party's conference in Brighton.

The Labour leader said the Government's policy to help consumers switch to the lowest energy tariff would not help 90% of the population, whereas his policy would benefit 27 million households and 2.4 million businesses across the country.

Mr Miliband said: "What is clear is that you are floundering around and you have no answer to Labour's energy price freeze.

"You didn't even defend your own policy, which won't benefit 90% of the country. You have no idea. You say you want to bring energy prices down but can you confirm that energy prices have gone up by £300 since you became Prime Minister?"

Mr Cameron replied: "I can tell you, first of all, that energy prices doubled under Labour, electricity prices went up by 50%. And let me say this to you - there is one thing governments can't control and that is the international wholesale price of gas.

"I know you would like to live in some sort of Marxist universe where you can control all of these things but you need a basic lesson in economics."


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