Today at Labour Party Conference Caroline Flint challenged her audience – ‘Let me tell you three things about Sweden’. It’s colder, it has dearer energy – but lower bills. The Johanssons pay less than the Johnsons because their homes are insulated better.
And that’s why greener homes will be at the heart of Labour’s policies.
Caroline outlined Labour’s energy policies – curbs on Energy Companies and their profiteering price structures – yes. But also a massive programme of home insulation – paid for by the Energy Company Obligation.
Caroline promised a new war on cold homes – a warmer Britain which would also be a fairer Britain and a Greener one – and one catching the employment future which Green jobs will mean.
Labour admits climate change, unlike UKIP – and will do something about it – and not just by hugging huskies.
Britain Will certainly Be Better Under Labour.
You can read Caroline’s speech in full below.
Caroline Flint MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, in a speech to Labour’s Conference 2014 in Manchester, said:
Conference, I remember as a child the days before central heating. When you woke up and your bedroom was freezing.You could see your breath in front of you. You didn’t want to get up.
For many today, the radiators are there but they can’t afford to turn them on.
That is not the Britain we believe in.
A year ago, Ed Miliband announced Labour’s energy price freeze, and changed the political weather.
At one stroke – one party, Labour – called time on unfair prices, sharp practice, and a secretive industry.
And no surprise to anyone, the energy companies, the Tories, the Liberal Democrats and even the SNP, all said we were wrong.
But we stood firm.
And thanks to you, the thousands of members and supporters who took to the streets and doorsteps of Britain to make Labour’s case, the British public made their minds up too. They said freeze that bill. The public aren’t stupid.They know the energy companies have not played fair. They see energy bills have risen by over £300 in just four years. Twice as fast as inflation, four times faster than wages, and faster than in almost any other country in the developed world.
A Labour Britain wants energy companies we can be proud of. Companies that play fair with their customers, have fair prices, and put customers first.
So during Labour’s 20 month price freeze we will change the rules of the game.
A tough new watchdog, with a bite as a good as its bark. With a power to make sure wholesale price cuts are passed to the customer. To make suppliers behave professionally.
When you misbehave, pay a fine, it’s not over.The slate is not wiped clean.
Keep breaking the rules, treating your customers badly, and you will be shut down.
But the cheapest energy is the energy we don’t use.
Yet heat is going straight out of our roofs, windows and walls. We might as well burn money.
Conference, let me tell you three things about Sweden. It’s colder than the UK, but you probably knew that. Its energy is more expensive than the UK.You may not have known that.
So why does the Johansson family in Stockholm have lower bills than the Johnson family in Stockport?
Simple: Swedish homes are super-insulated, keeping warm using less energy.
My plan is not just to freeze energy bills. But, in the next phase of our reforms, to enable millions of people to permanently cut them.
2014 saw two important anniversaries.
One hundred years since the start of World War One, and 70 years since the D-Day Landings, that marked the beginning of the end of World War Two. We have heard a hundred stories and more of ordinary people doing extraordinary things to protect our country. People who fought abroad, and others who kept the home fires burning.They wanted a country fit to live in. Their courage inspired me to demand so much more.
So today, I am declaring war on cold homes.
Six million low income families live in homes that are far too expensive to heat. In two out of three British homes, they don’t know how much heat they lose, or where from.
And the Coalition response? Useless. Nearly half of the money levied from energy companies doesn’t even go to the fuel poor. Over 1.5 million struggling to pay live in the coldest private rented homes. But fewer than one in ten will get any help under Cameron’s plans. The Government’s Green Deal is anything but a good deal. Only 2,000 households getting the job done.
So Britain has much to do.
Labour will get to work: half a million free home energy reports a year, so families know where and how they can cut their bills.
For those on low incomes we will make 200,000 homes warm every year, using every penny of the Energy Company Obligation.
And unlike this Government, we’ll get the job done properly in one go and put local authorities and communities in the driving seat.
And Conference, private landlords will have to play their part. Our ambition is that private rented properties will have to meet a decency standard by 2027, bringing warmth to three million homes.
And to typical home owners, I say: Labour will provide one million interest free loans in the next Parliament, so you too can heat your home and save on bills.
Conference, five million homes more energy efficient. All without spending any more money or adding to anyone’s energy bill.
Now that’s a battle plan.
It will take time. But be in no doubt, Labour will make saving energy a national infrastructure priority.Conference this challenge is not a burden. It is an opportunity – to create jobs, training and new businesses, across every region of our country. To reduce bills.And to reduce carbon emissions in the face of the biggest challenge facing humanity today, climate change.
Conference, isn’t that a vision worth fighting for
? Conference, I start this week with you in Manchester. I will end this week at home in Doncaster, where a fringe party is holding its conference. Yes, “live at Doncaster racecourse”, this weekend only, ‘Nigel and the Climate Change Deniers.’
They don’t believe in climate change. They would halt renewable energy. And scrap all wind farms. Left to them, Britain would be a spent force, hiding from the future.Refusing to back Britain as a world leader in energy innovation to forge a cleaner economy.
Sceptics like Farage need only look to China to see that low carbon is where the smart money is.
It is Labour that will lead our nation, to a low carbon, clean energy Britain.
Investing in renewables, carbon capture and storage for coal and gas, safe nuclear power and warmer, low energy homes.
Our planet is too valuable.Climate change is too costly to ignore.
Next year, in Paris, a Labour government can lead the campaign for an agreement to protect our planet. Leadership by example at home, gaining influence abroad.
I say to everyone watching this conference today: our vision is of a fair play Britain. Helping the hardworking. Tackling poverty. Creating jobs. No one left in the cold.
Warmer homes and yes, warmer hearts. A Britain where we are stronger together, working together. A Britain we can all believe in.
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