Unite: fuel poverty a 'top priority'

The joint leader of union Unite on Wednesday called on the government to help families struggling to pay for rising household bills and the record price of oil.

The union boss made the case for the speeding up of the building of a new generation of power stations.

Speaking to delegates at Unite's industrial conference, Derek Simpson said with no evidence that household fuel bills will fall in the near future, it was "absolutely imperative" that the UK cuts its reliance on foreign gas and oil.

"Building a new generation of nuclear power stations and clean coal fired power stations will create 10,000 jobs in manufacturing in the UK, reduce our reliance on foreign gas and oil and start to reduce household bills by 2015.

"It won't be popular with the Russians, or the French or the even the greens, but they don't vote Labour."

He also called for a windfall tax on the billion pound profits of oil firms.

"Labour needs to address the real concerns of real life people. The price of oil is hitting drivers as is the rising prices of fuel, household goods and mortgages. If Labour is to win the next general election, Gordon Brown must reconnect with the core vote and put money back into their pockets."

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