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Minister makes energy bills warning

Recent rises to gas and electricity bills might be here to stay, business secretary John Hutton has warned. In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, the government minister said that there is currently "genuine concern" about the difficulties low-income households are facing in paying their bills. The comments follow the latest round of price hikes from UK energy firms - with market leaders British Gas even imposing a 35 per cent increase on its gas tariffs.Mr Hutton commented: "The era of cheap energy is over. The question is how are we going to adjust to that and what sort of help can we provide to those who are going to struggle the most."There is genuine concern about the difficulties that people will face paying their heating bills over the coming winter and we are looking at extra support."The minister also ruled out a future windfall tax on energy companies in order to pay for this support, saying that the government would not "create a climate that makes it harder to attract new investment" to the energy sector.

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