Wednesday, October 09, 2013

An oven-ready answer on energy policy

I watched PMQs today, and was struck by the thought that David Cameron hasn't really got a quick, pat response to Ed Miliband's energy price freeze gimmick. This is slightly irritating, as I reckon a response could fairly easily be drafted that would be a) easy to understand; b) plausible; and c) fairly easy to blame Labour for. It goes as follows:

1. Energy prices have risen by roughly 30% since the Coalition came to power. Not co-incidentally, wholesale gas prices have risen by roughly 30% since the Coalition came to power. Miliband has alreay said that if wholesale gas prices rise, then his freeze will have to be unfrozen - probably the largest factor in recent price rises wouldn't even be covered by the freeze.

2. Probably the best way of reducing wholesale gas prices is to increase supply by exploiting Britain's immense resources of shale gas - something opposed by Labour.

3. Another important factor in domestic energy prices is, of course, tax - including the renewable levies introduced by Ed Miliband when he was energy sector. Not only does Miliband not propose to roll these taxes back - he proposes to extend them as part of making Britain carbon free. He's providing an illusory freeze on energy prices, while pursuing policies specifically designed to increase them.

4. Cost of inputs; levels of taxation. In each case Labour oppose the policies that might reduce them. Instead, they ignore the root causes of the problem, and seek to legislate to hide the problem. Just like with education, where falling real standards were masked by devalued exams.

And that's where the Government announce actual policies on fracking and cutting renewable levies.

£5 please.


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