es of cash help t

o pay winter fuel bills were dashed by Gordon Brown last ni

ght. In a speech to business he said he would soon unveil proposals to assist with rising gas and electricity bills - but with no gimmicks or give

aways. Instead the measures are expected to focus on helping people get insulation and doubl

e-glazing. The Government, locked in talks with the energy firms over the plans, would take steps to making every home more energy efficient and cut bil

ls pe

rmanently. There had been reports ministers

would offer a 150 winter fuel allowance to families on child benefit. But pressure grew yesterday for a windfall tax aft

er it emerged the six2020第67期买马跑狗图 big energy firms upped shareholders dividends to 1,635 - a 19 per cent increase on 1.378billion total in 2006. Among them Centrica increased its payout to shareholders from 409million to 478 million, and Scottish and Southern Energy from 400million to 474million. E.on, which paid nothing in 2006, 240 million. Scottish Power cut its dividends. Sir Jeremy Beecham of the Local Government Association said it torpedoed energy firm claims a windfall tax would halt investment in generators. In the speech, to business leaders i

n Scotland, Mr Brown also slapped down Alistair Darlings warning the economy was the worst for 60 years by insisting Britain face

d an optimistic future. He said: I am cautiously optimistic about the long-term resilience of the economy. At root it is well placed to we

ather any global economic storm.