Davey on the energy crisis and a Tory winter of discontent

Ed Davy makes a storming attack on the Conservative administration into today’s Guardian. The mounting cost of heating bills and food price-hikes due to increasing transport costs and the energy crisis means the poorest people will be hit the hardest. Davey says no one should be surprised that Boris Johnson has dismissed these problems. He wants us to believe it’s a global problem, with nothing unique to the UK. And he wants us to think it will all be over quickly. He is wrong. This is just the latest example of the Conservative party taking people for granted.

Johnson’s botched Brexit deal is unquestionably a UK-only phenomenon and a major cause of rising food prices. The shortages of lorry drivers, farm workers and staff in the food processing sector – from chicken processing units to abattoirs – are adding to these pressures…

Despite the lowest paid being among the worst hit by these Conservative policy failures, Johnson seems determined to make it even worse for them – by slashing support and raising taxes for the low paid…

As secretary of state for energy and climate change, I was proud of the role the Liberal Democrats played in weaning the UK off both coal and gas – for instance, when we nearly quadrupled the UK’s renewable energy between 2010 and 2015…

Most of that stopped under the Conservatives after 2015. They privatised our Green Investment Bank, scrapped new homes standards, stopped onshore wind, damaged our solar industry and failed to take any serious new initiatives. Indeed, energy policy has effectively been stalled for six years…

And guess what? Tory climate sceptic backbenchers and their backers are now arguing that the current energy crisis shows why we must scrap green levies and subsidies for the renewables industry. This isn’t just wrong because it would be embarrassing ahead of the forthcoming Glasgow Cop26 summit. It’s factually wrong. Almost all of the renewable power plants built thanks to Liberal Democrat policies are now paying the consumer back…

The Conservatives’ failure to tackle the cost-of-living crisis is just the latest example of the party taking people for granted. In the Chesham and Amersham byelection, so many lifelong Conservative voters told us that Johnson’s incompetence and lack of decency would cause them to vote for us. They felt taken for granted by the prime minister. A Conservative winter of discontent could yet see that light go on for many of the party’s other former supporters.

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  • A very popular move, and an encouragement to low energy use, would be to scrap standing charges. A second move would be to have a low initial rate (say a quarter of the current rate) for the first xxx kwhour and then let the companies compete once the first, say, £20 a month has been used with their own much higher rates. This would give low energy users a way to slash their bills whilst mindless consumers would have to pay more. I live in the far south so am able to turn my gas supply off for eight months out of twelve (and enjoy an ice-cold shower every morning, not using any hot water at all) – if the rates increase exponentially I will refuse to use gas and may have the meter removed (so no standing charges). If enough people turned their gas supply off in protest at rising costs it would wreck the energy supply system…

  • The least well off are facing a ‘perfect storm’ this winter and Raab’s PMQ responses just show how far removed from the reality of the real issues this government is..

    The Jesuits used to claim “Give me the boy and I’ll give you the man”…Public schools and the Bullingdon Club have given us Johnson, et al.. Cutting the £20, at such a moment, is just ‘burning a £50 note in front of a beggar’ on a national scale..

  • David Evans 24th Sep '21 - 9:57am

    Today Grant Shapps promised to move heaven and earth to solve the lorry driver crisis. Well, I’m very impressed with his ambition, but do we do a lot of trade with heaven?

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