28 Jan 2014
Brace yourself, there’s another £17 billion in national spending cuts predicted for this year.
Half of the cuts will be to benefits, like the National Health Service. This government has been relentless in pursuing its agenda of protecting their ideology at the cost of poor and vulnerable people, especially the elderly. The Treasury introduced a budget that reduced corporate taxes, increased the personal allowance, costing the Treasury millions while cutting back benefits to offset the impact of their ideology on our national debt. Our deficit has reached a serious state of concern, now ballooning to £1.2 trillion, three quarters of the size of the UK economy. This might help to explain why fracking is so alluring to the people who control our energy policy – we need a source of income to boost the UK economy.
The clean tech industry is consistently the fastest growing sector in the world. Insufficient investment and policy turnarounds have badly impacted the UK’s low carbon industry, culminating in an attack on vulnerable people by stopping the Energy Company Obligation in March 2014. Our Energy Policy has been broken for many years. It’s time to start fixing it.
People with lesser means are still being fleeced by the Big Six energy suppliers. Six million households in the UK are on key meters. Five million households are in debt to their energy supplier, meaning that they are held captive and cannot switch. Studies conducted by BHESCo in Brighton & Hove, have determined that people pay 20 – 40% more for their electricity and gas on prepayment or “key“ meters. In winter, this means that people with key meters may run out of heat or electricity and not have the money to get the heating or lights turned back on. Increasing more people across the city must make a decision whether to heat or eat. Last year, 31,000 people died in the UK from the cold. According to Age UK, 90% of these deaths were in people over 65 years old. For the state not to provide for our elderly and vulnerable people is a lamentable turn of events. Considering the progress we’ve made in technology, our social services are evolving to Dickensian conditions.
67% of the British population would like the failed privatisation of 1993 reversed, to re-nationalise the energy industry. Unfortunately, this is more a dream, disappointingly, a likely impossibility. With a combined value well into the 100s of billions of pounds, the cost to the Treasury of reacquiring the energy suppliers and national grid would be too great to inspire political will. We can also assume that since taxpayer funds have been spent on bailing out the banks, we do not have the economic capacity to buy back national assets we once owned.
Yesterday, the Department of Energy and Climate change released their Community Energy Strategy. This report pledged support for community energy groups across the country. BHESCo will continue to work with Brighton & Hove City Council to drive down the cost of energy locally, investing in the local community. We expect that any support that we receive will create value for money for the taxpayer, delivering a low cost transition to a low carbon economy for less investment per kWh of energy generated or saved.
That is why Co-operative energy groups are so important. Groups managed by social entrepreneurs are picking up gauntlet to remedy a failed energy industry. 20 years experience has been enough time for us to recognise that the model didn’t work and its time to consider attractive alternatives. Show your support for community energy by joining BHESCo. Call us or write to us. Get in touch, we are here to help.