Question Time: Guest criticises energy policy

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Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s recent announcement of measures to support households struggling to keep up with rising costs has been blasted by BBC Question Time panellist Tim Stanley. Mr Stanley the Government is making Britons pay the cost “for 30 years of failure in energy policy.”

Mr Stanley told BBC Question Time: “I will give the government credit on one thing, because I think that [Rishi Sunak’s] proposal of targeted rebates is probably a little more progressive Labour’s idea of a VAT cut, which would affect everyone. So I’ll give them that.

“That’s all I will give them. You are now paying for 30 years of failure in energy policy.

“Sometimes markets go wrong, and this one is going wrong that’s true but over the course of these three decades has been a failure to invest nuclear to invest in shale or to invest in proper gas exploration.

“At the same time, the Conservative government has nicked some policies from labour, which themselves have distorted the market, the application of a cap to energy bills, which sounds like a good idea but as I say, it distorts things and also the levying of green and other social levies which are added onto your bill.

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“So something like 20 percent right now of your bill is those levies which have been applied by the Government.”

“Now the Government’s proposal to support us during this at a time in which the average bill is going to rise by about £700  is to give £150  back I think, by council tax, which is good. But also to give us £200, which and this is the small print, we have to pay back,” he continued.

“So you might call the government strategy of dealing with a problem which has been exacerbated by the Government as socialism with a miserly face.

“A socialism in which the government takes your money, gives it back to you, and then asks you to return.”

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Mr Stanley added: “And it’s so frustrating after 11 or 12 years of a Tory government in power, not just to have this crisis, but to have the same New Labour philosophy of work, a philosophy which sees government money as the government’s.

“it’s not, it’s yours and you have lent it to the government the government shouldn’t be lending it to you!”

It comes after Conservative backbench MP Peter Bone savaged plans announced by the Treasury to increase national insurance contributions in order to support households struggling to keep up with rising costs.

Mr Bone told Parliament on Thursday: “Conservatives believe in holding taxes down and putting more money in people’s pockets, so they can decide how to spend it.

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“Socialists believe in raising taxes and then choosing to give it back in the form of discounts and rebates to selected people the Government think need it.”

He asked Mr Sunak” “Can the Chancellor tell me his approach in increasing national insurance contributions, and then handing money back to different people through rebates and discounts.

“Is that a conservative approach or a socialist approach?”

The Chancellor replied: “With the greatest respect for my honourable friend I also believe that it is a conservative approach to be responsible with this nation’s public finances.”

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