Businesses meet ministers to discuss energy prices

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Britain's energy companies are in talks with the government to consider ways to help poorer households cope with rising electricity and gas prices.

Charity National Energy Action claims that the energy price increases seen in recent months have pushed more than half a million families into fuel poverty – the condition of having to spend ten per cent or more of household income on fuel bills.

The government has threatened businesses with a tax on profits if more is not done voluntarily to help address the issue of fuel poverty.

An unnamed source close to one of the major energy companies told the Times: "The government is exercised about this issue and the industry does not want a windfall tax, so they are likely to agree to some kind of deal…It's easier for everyone to swallow."

The chief executives of Centrica (which owns British Gas), EDF and Eon will meet energy minister Malcolm Wicks and chief secretary to the Treasury Yvette Cooper at Downing Street today to discuss the issue.

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