Cameron: We can deliver on cutting green levies

Nick CleggNick Clegg
Nick Clegg
David Cameron has insisted he can deliver on his promise to remove green charges from energy bills as rifts in the coalition on energy and education continue.

The Prime Minister said he was confident the Government would move to cut environmental charges while Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg repeated his criticisms of allowing the Tories’ flagship free schools to employ unqualified teachers.

The Liberal Democrats had reacted angrily when the Prime Minister raised the idea of clamping down on green levies on Wednesday with Mr Clegg admitting it was “not something I fully agree with”.

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Speaking on a trip to the region yesterday, however, Mr Cameron said: “What the Liberal Democrats have said is that all these charges and regulations and taxes on bills need to be stress tested...

Energy bills are made up of the wholesale cost of energy; there’s not a huge amount you can do about that in the short term. There’s the charges of transmission, getting the energy and electricity to your house, there might be something we can do there.

“Then there’s the profits of the firms and the regulation and taxes added by the Government and it’s those two last things that we really need to pay attention to.”

Yesterday Scottish Power became the latest firm to announce a price hike affecting 2.2 million households. The group is raising gas tariffs by 8.5 per cent and electricity prices by nine per cent on average from December 6, adding another £113 to the typical annual dual fuel bill.

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Bank of England governor Mark Carney added further to the pressure last night, as he described the series of price rises announced by four of the Big Six energy suppliers as higher than expected. Mr Carney said the increases would cause a 0.15 per cent rise in inflation forecasts for next year – though other downward factors cancel this out in the overall calculation.

A defiant Mr Clegg earlier refused to apologise for criticising a key plank of Government education policy before he launched the idea of an elite league of head teachers and urged the best school leaders to shun the “bright lights” of London in favour of posts in seaside towns and rural areas.

The “champions league” of top heads and deputies will be recruited centrally then dispatched to schools across England that are failing, struggling to recruit staff or based in areas of deprivation. Incentives could include better pay and relocation packages, though details are yet to be finalised.