David Ellesmere calls on Tories to keep their election promise on energy pricing.
A recent report by the Local Government Association highlighted the fact that fraud is now the commonest type of crime in Britain.
British people are conned out £10 billion a year but only a tiny minority of scams are ever reported to the police or trading standards, quite often due to embarrassment on the part of the victims.
I imagine that British Gas customers also feel like they’ve been conned with the announcement that their electricity bills are being increased by 12.5%.
But their overwhelming feeling is likely to be anger, not embarrassment.
Anger at British Gas, certainly, and its parent company Centrica.
While customers on the lowest incomes will see their bills rise sharply, the Chairman of Centrica – the aptly named Iain Conn – has seen his pay increase by 40% over the last year from £3.02million to £4.15million. That is enough to pay the whole fuel bill of 4,000 British Gas customers.
But I imagine there’s also a fair amount of anger at the Government.
At the last General Election both Labour and Conservatives promised to cap rises on energy bills.
Theresa May couldn’t have been clearer: “If I am re-elected on June 8, I will take action to end this injustice by introducing a cap on unfair energy price rises.”
So, you would have reasonably assumed that, whoever won the election, there was going to be action taken against rip-off price rises.
Instead all we’ve had from Theresa May is the launch of yet another “review” into the energy market. Meanwhile prices continue to rise.
Since the General Election the Conservatives seem to have ditched large chunks of the manifesto they were elected on.
While some of these U-turns are welcome such as on plans to scrap the pensions triple-lock, Winter Fuel Payments and free school meals, others such as dropping the fuel bill cap are not.
The wider issue is that I don’t think anyone now has got a clue which bits of the Conservative Manifesto, if any, the Government are going to honour.
If you’re promised one thing and are given something completely different, isn’t that the textbook definition of a con?