Miliband right to target energy fat cats

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The energy companies’ threat that the lights will be switched off if Labour forces them to freeze their prices (your report, 26 September) is pure baloney and scaremongering of the worst kind.

For too long the energy companies have ripped off the consumer by hiking up prices at times when people most need to heat their homes: ­usually, just before a terrible winter.

Many people in Scotland and throughout the UK are forced to choose between heating and eating.

Millions of people in work and on benefits have been forced into fuel poverty by austerity and stagnating wages.

This situation has been brought about by the banking crisis and exacerbated by Tory economic policies which favour the rich and big corporations.

The so-called “free market” in the energy market is nothing of the kind. The big ­energy companies have colluded to keep the price high so all the fat cats can gorge themselves on the profits.

The failure to get energy prices down is yet another failure of Thatcherite ideology, which was discredited as much as Communism was in 1989 after the banking bailout of 2008.

The markets are incapable of bringing energy prices down, so it is right government should do it.

Alan Hinnrichs

Gillespie Terrace

Dundee

Ed Miliband’s statist notion of freezing energy bills is not only unworkable, it raises the spectre of the power cuts and slashed investment of the sombre seventies.

And it is the rankest hypocrisy from the former secretary of state for energy whose Climate Change Act and green taxes created those soaring prices in the first place.

It is generally observed that the actions of governments have the opposite effect of that intended and such a pledge will almost certainly lead to even higher prices.

Such an action would need to be implemented immediately, not given an 18-month window for energy companies to ramp up their prices to offset his proposed freeze.

This cunning plan is almost as daft as the announcement by his old boss Gordon Brown that he intended to flog off Britain’s gold reserves, which resulted in a fire sale.

(Dr) John Cameron

Howard Place

St Andrews

Bill Jamieson (Perspective, 26 September) is right to express doubts on Labour’s proposed energy price freeze for consumers.

I recall vividly St Petersburg in 1992 as a traffic-free ghost city as though hit by an apocalypse.

The reason was that Boris Yeltsin’s government had decided to fix energy prices for the consumer.

Meanwhile, the free-floating prices at the oil fields were soaring, so the Kirishi refinery and power station which serviced St Petersburg could not afford to buy its crude oil supplies and sat idle.

The situation was finally resolved when the fixed consumer price policy was reversed.

Only if a UK government owned all parts of the supply chain from producer to consumer might a stable, fixed energy price to the consumer be possible, however unlikely, as central planning and total state ownership collapsed with the USSR.

Perhaps this is Lord Mandelson’s message too, when he indicated this week the impossibility of Labour turning energy policy backwards.

Elizabeth Marshall

Western Harbour Midway

Edinburgh

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