The Edinburgh Reporter Alex Lunn 3Labour Councillor Alex Lunn represents the Craigentinny and Duddingston Ward. Today he is blogging for The Edinburgh Reporter about the recent Labour party announcement on freezing energy bills and privatisation of core services.

Ever heard the expression that all political parties are the same?

Everybody has heard somebody say it, probably everybody has thought it. I know I have and I’m not only a member of the Labour Party but I’m actually a politician to boot.

The reality is that not all political parties are the same. Also they are not perfect either. However this week has made me very proud to be not only a member of the Labour Party but an elected representative as well.

In a week when the George Osborne & Danny Alexander are set to use in excess of £!m of our taxes to fight the EU for the right of bankers and ‘fat cats’ to award themselves huge bonuses, the Labour Party is not only pledging to repeal the unfair (and hugely impractical in Edinburgh) ‘Bedroom Tax’ but also pledging to freeze energy prices for 20 months if the party wins power in 2015.

This is a major step in improving the finances of ordinary people. Being able to comfortably afford your heating bills is something everybody should be entitled to. The big six energy firms know this. That is why they have all gone into hyper-drive to tell us that cheaper bills are not possible.

They are also telling us we will become susceptible to the sort of energy crisis suffered by California! A crisis l might add that was caused in huge part by inflated price holding and economic withholding.

These were of course caused by the defunct and bankrupt former energy giant Enron. So in fact that energy crisis was not caused in anyway by a price freeze.

The proposed energy freeze will likely save the average family roughly between £120-£130 per year. Since George Osborne is fond of telling us we are all in this together, if that is true then why can’t the energy companies take a small hit for the needs of the many which should always outweigh the needs of the few?

In Edinburgh the difference is clear about what Labour stands for.

Just yesterday at the Full Council meeting, my Labour Party Colleague Councillor Lesley Hinds put forward a motion which seeks to stand up for the people of Edinburgh by protecting the East Coast Mains Line which you’ve guessed it, the Tories are seeking to privatise.

Sadly a nationalised line that has contributed to the Treasury in the last few years a sum of around £900m could be improved by privatisation according to the Tories. Who cares that the service is excellent and that use of it has gone up since nationalisation in 2009 and that fares are affordable?

East Coast like the Royal Mail is a state-owned enterprise that makes huge profits for its shareholders (presently us the people). The Tories can’t have that because people will start to believe the myth that only the private sector can make a profit.

East Coast is proving that not only can it make a profit but it’s doing it in a sustainable and affordable way for its customers. The political right can’t have that so I urge all who read this to write to the Chancellor and his Lib-Dem Deputy and tell them that we like our affordable and reliable train service that pays the treasury a huge dividend.

The Tories in the City Chambers here sadly have no wish to stand up for their fellow citizens in Edinburgh and as such placed a counter motion welcoming privatisation. Labour and our coalition partners in the SNP won the debate and the vote yesterday but privatisation of East Coast (and Royal Mail) is a serious possibility. Hopefully many readers will take action to oppose this and hopefully I have gone someway to dispelling the myth that all political parties are the same.

You may contact Councillor Alex Lunn by mail, telephone or email

The City of Edinburgh Council
City Chambers
High Street

Telephone: 0131 529 4956