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SIR Keir Starmer’s suggestion that he wants to keep energy bills down without nationalising providers is “dishonest,” campaigners warned today.
Speaking to LBC Radio, the Labour leader said that he is “not in favour of nationalisation” despite backing the idea before being elected in April 2020.
Sir Keir was asked how he would tackle rising bills as private energy firms struggle with soaring wholesale gas prices.
In response to a caller who said that profits would be returned to the exchequer under a state-owned system, he said: “There are different ways of doing business but the top-down version of nationalisation I don’t think really works and I’m not in favour of it.
“We may have to look at the models for the ownership of energy companies. The immediate problem is how we get through the next six months, nine months, twelve months.”
Labour for a Green New Deal tweeted: “It’s dishonest for [Keir Starmer] to say he wants to keep energy bills down for people while ruling out the nationalisation of energy companies.
“Their private profits should be reinvested in green infrastructure and cheaper bills, not siphoned off to shareholders.”
Campaigners have also warned against any plans to underwrite £20 billion of bank loans for energy suppliers as posing a “serious risk of a fresh banking crisis.”
PM Boris Johnson is believed to be looking at developing a “cost deferral mechanism” to help firms avoid passing on extra costs to customers.
New Zero Watch said that the “political gamble is bad news for everyone” and would just be a “sticking plaster” to a gaping wound.
Arguing the plan would set a “dangerous precedent,” the green campaign group said that the proposals would only cover costs for the next year, “raising the spectre of a fresh banking crisis [and] endless bailouts to the energy sector.
“They would be rightly perceived by the public as gifts to energy company fat cats and would be extremely unpopular.”
Net Zero Watch director Dr Benny Peiser said: “The only winners of Boris Johnson’s precarious gamble are the energy suppliers and their shareholders, who are protected from bankruptcy, and Mr Johnson himself who hopes to save his premiership by pushing the energy crisis onto the banking sector.”
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