15/10/2013 13:31 BST | Updated 15/12/2013 05:12 GMT

Energy Bills Could Soar If We Scrap Green Taxes, Warns Nick Clegg

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 14: Deputy British Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg speaks during a rally at the end of the first day of conference at the SECC, Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre on September 14, 2013 in Glasgow, Scotland. The Liberal Democrat Autumn conference began in Glasgow today where the leader Nick Clegg addressed the audience during a rally this evening. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Nick Clegg has warned that scrapping green energy levies would push up bills in future and leave more people unable to heat their homes.

"Like everyone else I want us to strain every sinew to keep those bills down, but I don't think anyone should think that by scrapping all the levies that exist, suddenly with one bound we are free.

"We won't be," he told The Daily Telegraph.

"Actually what will happen is that you will have less investment, probably higher bills over time and an increase in fuel poverty. That cannot be the right answer."


Clegg added: "The whole point of putting some of these levies on bills is to make sure that we do keep lights on.

"People's bills go down over time by making sure that their homes are more properly insulated and that fuel poverty is properly tackled.

"Of course we need to keep everything under review - I don't want to see a penny more going on to bills than is strictly justified."

Prime Minister David Cameron's spokesman indicated last week the levies were under review, with the Government looking "across the board" at ways to reduce pressures on household finances.

Pressure for action has been significantly increased by Labour leader Ed Miliband's pledge that he would freeze energy bills for 20 months if his party wins the 2015 general election.

The chief executive of energy company SSE, which last week raised its prices by up to 10%, has called for a debate on the "green agenda", which he claims will lead to more bill hikes in the future.

SSE believes bills would fall by £110 per household overnight if the Government covered green energy subsidies and the cost of other schemes, such as free loft insulation, through the tax system.

Liberal Democrat Business Secretary Vince Cable says any attempt to ditch the policies would be "short-sighted and foolish" but was the subject of "a continuing argument in the coalition".

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