Protecting customers from rip-off energy prices
The Government made a manifesto commitment to extend the price protection currently in place for some vulnerable energy consumers to more of those on the poorest value tariffs. In June, it wrote to Ofgem asking what action they intend to take, and I welcome Ofgem’s commitment to protecting a further one million families from expensive standard variable tariffs for the first time. This will take the total number of families protected from expensive standard variable tariffs to over five million and make a real difference to many residents in the Great Yarmouth constituency.
The Bill will meet the Government’s manifesto promise and bring an end to rip-off energy prices once and for all. This is a price cap, not a price freeze. Companies are still expected to compete below the cap for customers, just as they were before. The price cap will be set by the independent energy regulator and second, it will go up and down depending on current market conditions. The Government is also working with Ofgem to make switching supplier quicker and easier for consumers.
Energy bills skyrocketed under the previous Labour Government: from 1997 to 2010, the average electricity bill went up 47 percent, from £323 to £474 and the average domestic gas bill went up by 105 percent, from £275 to £564. And unfortunately, Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t seem to want to protect consumers. Instead, he is determined to nationalise the national grid – risking private investment and costing billions of pounds in the first year alone.
Brexit negotiations update
The Prime Minister has again repeated the collective stance of the Government – Britain is leaving the European Union in March 2019. This was reinforced during her recent speech in Florence, which set out the Government’s approach to the negotiations:
- Seek a new deep and special partnership between the European Union and the sovereign United Kingdom.
- Agree on a partnership that allows us to continue to trade and cooperate with each other
- because we see shared challenges and opportunities ahead.
- This partnership must ensure the United Kingdom is a sovereign nation once again, a country in which the British people are firmly in control.
The Prime Minister has also confirmed that the Government is preparing for every eventuality, so the country is ready from the first day we leave the European Union, even in the event that our European partners do not reach an agreement on the terms of our exit.
In a speech to the House of Commons earlier this week the Prime Minister restated that when we leave the European Union we will no longer be members of its single market or its customs union. Likewise, as the British people voted for control of their borders, their laws and their money, the Government intends to deliver this. As Immigration Minister, I have an important role in preparing our new immigration system required to take control of our borders. As Member of Parliament for Great Yarmouth, I know that this is an issue of great importance for many constituents.
As we have clearly set out what we require from our exit, the ball is now firmly in the court of our European partners. I am optimistic we will receive a positive response, even though progress will not always be smooth. As the Prime Minister has said, “we can prove the doomsayers wrong, and we can seize the opportunities of this defining moment in the history of our nation.”
Working for you in Great Yarmouth and Westminster
Since my last newsletter, amongst many things, I’ve:
- Queried why Norfolk County Council thinks land jacent to Back Lane in Rollesby is a suitable site to build 17 houses. Local residents have told me they are concerned about car access to the site and flooding issues.
- Became one of the inaugural members of the Civic Society of Great Yarmouth, which was formed to spread a sense of civic pride in the town and use the area’s rich heritage to make the town an even more welcoming place.
- Attended the monthly Belton Coffee morning to hold a regular constituent’s surgery. At the same time, I had the pleasurable task of presenting the awards to the winners of the Village Voice literature competition
- Wrote to local residents providing an update about the Burgh Castle Quarry plans and the meeting being hosted to discuss the proposals.
- Contacted local people with concerns about a quarry in Fritton Woods. I gave my support to the previous community campaign, which persuaded the County Council not to allocate this land as a quarry. Nothing has changed since then and I am hopeful by working together we can stop this idea once and for all.
- Successfully lobbied Highways England to bring forward their works for the Gapton Hall Roundabout. I am glad they listened to my argument instead of delaying the works to their original proposed start date next February.
- Met with senior managers from Greater Anglia to highlight, once again, the need for an improved station in Great Yarmouth.
- Set out the Government’s approach to immigration and ensuring our borders are safe and secure, once we leave the European Union, during Home Office questions in Parliament.
Rt Hon Brandon Lewis MP