A freeze of prices but not policy

Last year's market intervention bombshell was always going to be a difficult act to follow for Labour. Something was needed to maintain momentum and it came in the unlikely disguise of energy efficiency. 

An energy price freeze is about as significant as government control can get and it dominated the entire conference season of 2013. One year later and the talk is still very firmly of that same promise.

However, behind the initial imaginative fringe title referencing life beyond the price freeze it is clear that the Shadow Energy Team is as clear on its positions and policies than it is maybe given credit for and with four of them on panels there's a determination to talk about the other aspects too. 

Challenges to the price freeze as a distortion of the market and the potential negative impact it can have were across the conference dialogue. The long awaited energy efficiency paper, however, brought a new level of interest and excitement to insulation that would normally only be joked about amongst Liberal Democrats. Energy efficiency being treated as a significant infrastructure project as part of Labour's 'war on cold homes' is a welcome approach and received a warm reaction at every fringe you could follow the Shadow Team around.

Criticism of ECO, a regulator whose 'bite is as good as its bark' and enforced energy efficiency standards on private landlords are all signs that as we approach the general election, Labour won't be pinning all its energy hopes on the promise of a freeze and that arguably energy continues to be Labour's strongest policy position. 


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