Friday, April 24, 2009

An end to phone and energy rip-offs!

It's been a really busy week here in Strasbourg with much important legislation being voted on which will have positive impacts on people's everyday lives.

On Wednesday I voted in favour of new caps on the cost of using a mobile phone when abroad and I supported new laws designed to open up Europe's energy markets and end rip-off energy charges, banning unfair pre-payment meter charges.

On mobile roaming a majority of MEPs had previously voted in 2007 to cut the cost of voice calls from an average of £1 per minute down to 40p and warned the mobile phone companies that for text messages and data use (using the internet and sending e-mails) they would have to end their unfair high charges voluntarily or we would do it for them. Well they didn't do it, so on Wednesday we voted to cap the price of texts sent from one EU country to another at 9 pence and cut data roaming wholesale prices down to 85 pence a megabyte by July this year and down to 39 pence from July 2011. It is high time that we ended the great mobile phone rip-off and I'm proud to have played my part, on behalf of the many holidaymakers and business people from the East Midlands.

We also voted through various pieces of legislation today on opening up Europe's electricity and gas markets. For the first time in European legislation, and largely due to the sterling work of my Labour friend and colleague Eluned Morgan, the concept of "energy poverty" is recognised. As with mobile roaming, customers have been ripped off for too long by energy companies. The laws we have approved will help ensure that energy companies can no longer abuse their dominant position. The ban on discriminatory pricing means that customers who pay up front for their electricity through a pre-payment meter will no longer be penalised for it.


  1. I am an avid beliver in Europe and indeed that Labour Party. But without sounding like a Tory, what will cheaper mobile phone charges do for me? I am a 22 year old Open University Law student living on minimum funds and by myself, I have not ever been abroard and in the near future do not plan to. I can not see the sense of bragging about something, in my opinion, that many of your constituant in this financial down turn will not get that use of. Now if you cut call cahrges form the UK to the UK the it would not seem like a slap in the face, as many people have had to cancel their holidays to pay thier morgages and YOUR AIR FAIR TO STRASBURG.

    Please get in touch if you can do something for the people who voted you in and not your party political future.

    Gary Steel

  2. Thank you for putting my comment about Ms Willmott's blog upon the site. I was concerned that in this supposed democratic society we live in you would not allow me to critically comment on her Strasburg work, as it informed me that it would have to approved which I thought a bit strange because we have free speech in this country, we are not Russia.

    Thanks again

    Gary Steel

  3. I disagree with the comment above about the unusefulness of the reduction in mobile tarrifs. I am a 21 year old language student and I also live on minimal funds. My course requires me to live in France for an academic year and the current prices would restrict me and thousands like me from keeping in contact with family and friends. Moreover it's about harmonising the markets and in real terms pulling together in times of economic difficulty to save the EU's citezens money on something as coveted as energy.