Monday 6 December 2021 / 7:19 PM Ed Miliband / Energy

Labour slams Government for treating North as ‘second class citizens’ over power cuts and calls for urgent independent inquiry

Speaking at an Urgent Question in the House of Commons today, Labour’s Shadow Climate Change and Net Zero Secretary Ed Miliband slammed the Government for its inadequate response to the power outages as a result of Storm Arwen.

Over one million homes have been affected by storm damage to the power network, with over 3,000 households in the North East still without power last night (Sunday), ten days into the crisis.

This is despite assurances from Secretary of State Kwasi Kwarteng in the House of Commons on Wednesday, 1 December that power would be restored by the end of last week.

Miliband accused the Government of failing to treat the crisis with the seriousness it deserved- noting that the Government’s emergency committee COBRA has still not met to coordinate the response.

Mr Miliband also said that the Government had left households vulnerable by failing to learn the lessons from previous storms, and called for a proper, independent inquiry into the performance and failures of power companies, regulators and Government.

Ed Miliband MPLabour’s Shadow Climate Change and Net Zero Secretary, commenting on the need for an independent inquiry, said:

“Communities in the North have been badly let down, not just by the power networks but by central government in its crisis response and its oversight of the system.

“Last Wednesday in the House of Commons Kwasi Kwarteng said the overwhelming majority of those still without power would have it restored by Friday. Yet this has not happened.

“People are being left in the most appalling circumstances but there has been an absence of government leadership. Communities in the North with their power cut off are being treated like second-class citizens.

“After storms in 2013, power companies and the government said lessons would be learned. But clearly not enough was done to do that, and now working people and businesses are paying the cost for the Government’s failures.

“Instead of a cosy government-led process, overseen by BEIS, we now need a proper, independent inquiry into the performance and failures of power companies, regulator and Government to make sure our country and communities are never left this vulnerable again.”