MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Sunday that Labour party proposals for a freeze on energy prices and the cancellation of a planned cut in corporation tax would cost jobs and weaken the economic recovery.
Cameron, speaking on the first day of the Conservative party conference in Manchester, said opposition Labour leader Ed Miliband’s proposals were ‘nuts’ though he added that the energy market needed to be more competitive.
“Bashing and taxing business is going to cost us jobs and set us back and make sure our recovery is weaker and that is wrong,” Cameron told the BBC.
British-listed utilities Centrica and SSE lost 2.7 billion pounds ($4.34 billion) in market value in the two days following Miliband’s pledge on Tuesday to freeze energy prices for 20 months if his party wins power in May 2015.
“I want low prices not just for 20 months, I want them for 20 years,” Cameron said. “Do we want to make the market more competitive? Absolutely.”
The energy companies have warned that the Labour plans could sow economic ruin. Labour says consumers have been overcharged and that the energy market does not work properly.
Labour also proposed scrapping the government’s plans for a cut in corporation tax to 20 percent from 21 percent.
“It is nuts frankly to put up corporation tax,” Cameron said.
Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Kate Holton