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Wednesday 2nd
posted by Morning Star in Britain

by Felicity Collier

SHADOW chancellor John McDonnell accused British Gas yesterday of inflating prices by acting as part of a cartel.

The energy giant announced price rises of 12.5 per cent for electricity yesterday, blaming “underlying increases” in costs.

Some 3.1 million households on a typical annual tariff will have to fork out between £76 and £1,120 extra from September 15.

Half-year results for the firm’s owner Centrica have shown overall operating profits of £816 million and shares rose 2 per cent.

The firm has cut 3,400 jobs in recent years.

Shadow energy minister Alan Whitehead said the move “doesn’t appear to be justifiable at all” in the face of a “healthy profit.”

He added: “At the very least the Conservatives should institute the energy price cap which Theresa May promised during the [June election] campaign.”

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell accused British Gas of being part of a cartel — its “Big Six” “rivals” raised bills at the start of the year. He said: “I think this is extortionate at this point in time when people’s wages are being cut or frozen and people are struggling.”

A spokesman for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: “We’re concerned this price rise will hit many people already on poor-value tariffs.

“Ofgem has committed to taking prompt action, in consultation with consumer experts, to develop proposals including a safeguard tariff.

“We want to see rapid progress on this commitment and are ruling nothing out.”