George Osborne, along with business secretary Sajid Javid, are to launch a new initiative aimed at cutting down on household bills in an attempt to continue to work towards the overall aim of helping out hardworking and often disadvantaged families across the UK.
The basic measures they are to introduce, that are intended to come into full effect by 2020, at the end of the current parliament, are focussed around generally improve competition in various sectors, particular in terms of utility provision.
According to current calculations, household bills will, on average, be cut down by at least £470 per year, if the measures are fully successful. They include improving choice in certain aspects of customer water supply, improving cost transparency for broadband tariffs and taking some power out of the hands of mobile phone tariff providers, preventing them from blocking handsets once contracts end.
In an effort to bring down the cost of car insurance premiums nationwide, Osborne plans to attack the problem of vast numbers of (often fraudulent) whiplash claims. This involves getting rid of customers ‘ right to immediate cash compensation in the event of minor whiplash claims.
Currently, estimates suggest that the 1,500 whiplash claims made every day in the UK cost the car insurance industry some £2 billion a year, driving premiums up as a result.
The general thrust of improving competition across industries including the energy and banking industries follows a trend that has been being pursued with vigour of late. The focus recently has been placed on improving and streamlining the process of switching providers, and on maintaining transparency for customers both in terms of how to switch, and on what deals would be available if the switch is completed.
Javid said that should these measures succeed in their aims, then “customers will have more choice and be able to shop around for the best deals across a number of markets, such as legal services, banking and broadband. We want to see new firms entering these marketplaces to keep them sharp and competitive, thereby giving people the best value for money.”
Osborne said that the proposed package of measures should “drive competition to improve choice for people and ensure they get a better deal.”
These latest proposals come hotly on the heels of Osborne ‘s recent volte face regarding his plans to cut tax credits for millions of families, instead deciding to slowly phase them out in favour of a universal credit framework.
Criticism from the Labour camp has not ended though, as new research championed by the shadow work and pensions secretary Owen Smith appears to show that Osborne ‘s current plans will leave many families around £2,500 worse of each year.
“It is now quite apparent,” said Smith, “that the chancellor only offered a partial reversal of his cuts to working people ‘s income in last week ‘s statement. Next year, half a million families may be hit by cuts to tax credit ‘s successor, universal credit.”
Time will tell just how much Osborne ‘s latest draft of proposals that came from his most recent Autumn statement will actually have their ostensible positive effect on the welfare of the ëhardworking families ‘ he claims to be supporting.
Criticism from Labour is likely continue until then.