The UK Government has narrowly survived an attempt in the House of Commons by rebel Tory and LibDem MPs to force energy suppliers to slash their carbon emissions.

Rebel MPs joined forces with Labour to demand a target, from April 1 next year, for power companies to cut carbon output by 2030, cutting the Government's majority to just 23.

The Energy Bill had allowed ministers flexibility as it only said the Government may consider setting a target up until 2016.

However, under a series of amendments tabled by Tory Tim Yeo, chairman of the Commons Energy and Climate Change Select Committee, and signed by 50 MPs including four Con-servative and nine LibDem.

MPs only voted on one amendment to the bill, which would have forced the Government to set the target, but the rebels lost by 290 votes to 267. Mr Yeo said failing to force power companies to slash their carbon emissions would lead to higher prices.

He said: "By 2016 many investment decisions will have been made. If these lock Britain into a high greenhouse gas emission future, they will either prevent us from meeting our climate change commitments, or else will lead to the construction of fossil-fuelled generating capacity which has to be subsequently scrapped."

Labour leader Ed Miliband described the vote as a missed opportunity blaming LibDems for failing to back their own policy of decarbonising the economy.