Friday, 5 September 2008

Loss labour

At the next round of world trade meetings (or letting the big multi-nationals get away with it), it will be a new conservative uk government putting it's social friendly policies with a new democratic/republican led government in the us.

But at the moment here in the uk, with all the nonsense wafting in the air of windfall taxes and tinkering about the edges with a stamp duty holiday. People are suffering.

If this winter is really bad, then like the summer of a couple of years ago, the weeks will go by and reports of people dying will flood onto the media networks.

Price increases for energy companies in the home of one of the big energy companies, is limited to 5% per year for its 28m customers. Yes it's edf and that has happened in france.  But, give or take a kw or barrel, how can the french president insist on such a small price increase been forced onto french consumers, whilst the uk government bends over backwards; seemingly just waving them through?

In the uk it, along with other energy companies, has been able to get away (like good cowboys laughing off into the sunset) with increasing prices by over 22% year on year, claiming wholesale price increases, whilst making billions in profit.  Perhaps my knowledge of the energy industry is on par with that of a gnat and i'm talking nothing but hot air through my other hole.

I'm sure stern words have been flying from ministries to companys and back again.  But why in the land of 'easily hire, easily fire', (to make us more competitive, which is why the oecd says the uk could be the only developed country to hit recession), is there such a disparity in energy pricing and pricing increases compared to other members of the european community?

Perhaps big companies are now fully aware they can gouge the uk consumer, without too much interference from a hapless regulator or an inept government.

If you spend more than 10% on fuel, you are classed as been fuel poor. For the many who are spending upto 25% if not more, they must be the new fuelslaves.  Doing everything possible to ensure the lights and gas remain on, even to the extent of cutting back on food and other basics.  The fates help them if it turns out to be harsh winter as, on current form, nothing useful looks like it will be emanating from this government, in time to stave off the worst.

The government is quick to say how much help it is providing to those over 70.  Which is excellent.  But what about those who are under that age, who don't get all the handouts - as they're not eligible to under the twisted, warped and convoluted regulations that pass for means-testing?

The dearth of useful information given by ministers is telling, when they make an appearance on television, radio or in the press.  That combined with their level of condescension, is simply a sign of a government fully out of touch with the true feelings of many of its citizens.

The way things are currently going, we can just imagine after the winter, with 30% of the population spending 40% of any income they have, just to try and keep warm. 

Over the coming weeks, the next good government thought, will be to trawl through historical archives to see how (when the last economic disaster was experienced) we, as a plucky nation, managed to pull through.

And this, no doubt, is probably one of the bright ideas they will eventually come up with....


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