Tuesday, 21 September 2010


I note that there were some mutterings at the Lib Dem conference today about the possibilities of a windfall tax on excessive bank profits and bank bonuses - I wonder how well that will go down at across the Cabinet table - where some may well have longer term plans for a safe seat on the board after their political careers are done and dusted.

The real interesting part of the days proceedings lies with the conspicuous silence in relation to any mutterings and musings about introducing a windfall tax on energy companies which could help people in their struggle with rising gas and electricity bills – and curb excessive profiteering from what has effectively become a closed energy market.

The reality is that we have a monopoly on energy supply in the UK, the number of energy supply companies fell to six in the last eleven, with barely more than a £30 differential between all of the energy supply companies, which works out to be no more than a few pence a week difference in bills. The energy cartel brings pretty minimal benefit to hard pressed energy customers, being pretty quick to blame rising oil and gas prices, and even quicker to rake in the profits.

It is worth remembering, lest we forget, that the average annual dual fuel bill rose from £662 a year in 2005 to 1,048 in 2007. The then New Labour Government was more than happy to rake in the extra tax revenues – the only loser in this happy picture was us, the energy customers.

New Labour’s failed conspicuously to do anything about a windfall tax on excessive profits from the energy companies. I suspect that the Con Dem's will also do nothing and fail to consider a windfall tax to curb excess profits from the utility companies.

Forget dual fuel bills, what we have here is a dual political failure that crosses the political divide (such as it is) and speaks volumes as to how far both New Labour, the Lib Dems and even the Conservatives have left behind the ordinary people in favour of continually courting the money men in the City.

Sadly for growing numbers of ordinary families this winter it may come down to a choice of eat or heat as the interests of big profit for big business comes before the needs of ordinary families. No one, in the 21st century, should be forced to make a choice between putting food on the table for their family and heating their home, but that's where many people may find themselves. Not that long ago families could live on one salary; but today people are working all hours of the day to cope.

This situation has arisen of a culture that rewards recklessness in the city of London, which has promoted a vast increase in credit, and an absurd house price boom. A fatal combination of greed, recklessness and little regulation ensured that we have arrived at the credit crunch something that brought real economic hardship for many and enriched the few.

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