Serious concern over impact of British Gas rises

The British Gas price rises were followed by an announcement of a £1bn profit for the first half of 2008

Jo Swinson has expressed serious concern over the impact of the latest British Gas price rises on residents in East Dunbartonshire.

British Gas announced on Wednesday that it is to raise gas prices by 35% and electricity prices by 9%. In a further announcement, British Gas owner Centrica revealed profits of nearly £1 billion for the first half of 2008.

Commenting on the price rises, Jo said:

“These price rises are some of the largest in history and will be a very real worry to many East Dunbartonshire residents. Families, elderly people and vulnerable residents will be particularly concerned at the effect these price rises will have on their household bills.

“Energy companies are benefiting from a £9bn windfall yet continue to hike up their prices on the Government’s watch. For some people, the price hike will mean having to choose between heating their homes and cooking their meals. It is an unacceptable position to leave people in, and an indictment of Government Ministers, who are too busy fighting over who should be sitting in Number 10 to get a grip on this issue.”

Liberal Democrat proposals to tackle fuel poverty include action to ensure that the cheapest retail prices are available to the most vulnerable customers. This means acting in conjunction with regulator Ofcom to eliminate the higher prices paid by customers on pre-payment meters, compared to those people who have access to internet direct debit tariffs.

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