Labour leader Ed Miliband yesterday accused David Cameron of going into a “panic” over energy prices, after Downing Street said that consumers “may wish to consider” wrapping up warm at home to help keep their heating bills down.
A No 10 spokesman made clear that Mr Cameron was not seeking to tell people whether they should put on a jumper when temperatures drop.
But Mr Miliband said: “Their crime policy used to be ‘hug a hoodie’. Now their energy policy appears to be ’wear a hoodie’.”
Government advice to shop around for the best deal will not provide relief to consumers struggling with rising gas and electricity bills, said the Labour leader, who has promised to freeze energy prices for 20 months if he wins the 2015 election.
Mr Cameron said it was “disappointing” that British Gas had become the second of the “big six” energy companies to announce above-inflation price rises. And he added: “There is something everyone can do, which is look to switch their electricity or gas bill from one supplier to another.”
Energy secretary Ed Davey added his voice to government calls for consumers to switch providers and take energy-saving measures to reduce their bills. Mr Davey told BBC2’s Newsnight: “I’m sure people do wear jumpers, I wear jumpers at home. We do need to help people with these bills, I’m extremely worried about them. We can use competition in the way we have but we can also make our homes warmer and we can use less electricity and gas by going energy-efficient, and that’s what the Government is trying to do.”
Asked at a Westminster briefing if Mr Cameron agreed people could reduce their fuel bill by wrapping up warm, the Downing Street spokesman said: “Clearly, he is not going to prescribe necessarily the actions individuals should take about that.”
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