Saturday, October 23, 2010

Getting there ... slowly

Thanks to Gordon Brown's profligacy, says Charles Moore, the public is about to have to pay more tax for fewer services. But the cost of green policies, he says, does not feature much in the latest debates, because most of it comes not through taxes, but through electricity bills.

It is programmed to rise. This year, the total levy adds £6 billion to our household and business bills. In 2015, it will be £10 billion; in 2020, £16 billion (which equals 4 pence on the basic rate of income tax today).

For the Government, Moore notes, and the generators, this is a beautiful way of doing things, because they get their money effortlessly. So it is ugly for you and me. We pay for the renewable obligation subsidies, we fund the Feed-in Tariff. We pay more and more for sources of energy which will not reward us with cost reductions for at least a generation.

For years, governments have gone on about the wickedness of "fuel poverty". Today, 4.6 million households are officially defined as living in it. The prevailing policies make it inevitable that fuel poverty will rise for as far as the eye can see. By 2020, our energy prices will be between 30 and 40 per cent higher than they would have been without them.

And so on. We are getting there, slowly ... but it is so slow.