UK energy minister claims Labour ‘don’t give a stuff’ about consumer energy bills

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Labour frontbenchers do not “give a stuff about consumer bills”, the energy minister has claimed.

Claire Perry accused her opposite numbers of not caring about delivering renewable energy at the right price, saying the Government “care about decarbonisation at the right price for the consumer”.

In a heated frontbench exchange during Business questions in the Commons, shadow business secretary Rebecca Long Bailey said: “The Government’s shambolic policy surrounding the solar and onshore wind sectors in recent years have meant significant economic growth and decarbonisation opportunities have been lost.”

She continued: “Sadly as we’ve heard today, we’ve heard reports that Swansea bay tidal lagoon – the world’s first tidal lagoon – creating thousands of jobs, local supply chains and using 100,000 tonnes of majority British steel – is also potentially on the Secretary’s hit list.

“So will the minister buck this trend today and confirm when this decision will be made, and also outline what support she will give to solar and onshore wind?”

Ms Perry, responding for the Government, said she was “bemused” at Ms Long Bailey’s ability to “seize a disaster out of a triumph”.

“We have delivered more renewable energy than we ever thought possible, at a price that is unimaginable.

“I know the front bench opposite doesn’t give a stuff about consumer bills – they’ve made that totally obvious.

“However we care about decarbonisation at the right price for the consumer.”

Ms Long Bailey replied: “I think we’ve touched a nerve there and I think the minister is living in a parallel universe to me it seems, because in the first quarter of 2018 deployment of new solar slowed to its lowest level since 2010.

“Next year onshore wind installation is expected to be its lowest level since before 2008, but it gets worse: last November the industrial strategy was published yet seven months on, progress has been slow with business becoming increasingly frustrated.”