MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - British finance minister George Osborne criticized proposals by the opposition Labour party to cap utility bills, saying they would prompt companies to raise prices before any limit was imposed and hit investment over the longer term.
"Companies would just jack up prices before the freeze, so in the short term prices go up. And companies would not invest in this country and build the power stations we need, so in the long term prices go up," Osborne told the Conservative party's annual conference.
"That's Labour's offer: get hammered with high prices now, get hammered with high prices later," he said.
Osborne also said he wanted to freeze the duty on fuel for the rest of the current parliament, due to end in 2015, and would keep capital spending in line with national income.
(Writing by William Schomberg; editing by Kate Holton)