Virtue Signalling Green Number Plates

The idea for green number plates from Grant Shapps is straight out of nudge theory:

This is at the sensible end of green policymaking: it doesn’t cost much, encourages rather than coerces, and will allow people to virtue signal over paying top money for a car that can’t get them to the shops and back… yet.

The Guardian’s political correspondent Peter Walker, however, reckons “giving electric vehicle drivers free parking just perpetuates yet another problem, inequality.” It does seem paradoxically iniquitous to give the richer owners of the most expensive cars lower taxes and driving costs…

UPDATE: It turns out this is a re-announcement of the scheme Chris Grayling unveiled in September of last year. Unlike Michael Green Grant Shapps to simply rename and relaunch something like this…

Reminds Guido of Shapps’ suspiciously similar speech to Chris Grayling over airline collapse. Is this a DfT that is a little too keen on recycling?..

Green Taxes Set to Treble

Green subsidies – levied on consumer bills – will treble by 2021-22, The Office for Budget Responsibility says. The controversial tax take will rise from £4.6 billion in 2015-16 to £13.5 billion in 2021-22. The cash will be spent on subsidising economically non-viable energy, such as solar and wind farms. Earlier this week Centrica, the parent company of British Gas, got into a public spat with the government, blaming green levies for putting an extra £149 a year on household bills. The firm said green taxes caused “significant pressures” on pricing and that there was no option but to pass costs on to customers. Centrica CEO Ian Conn said:

“It is transmission and distribution of electricity to the home and government policy costs that are driving our price increase.”

A spinner for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) claimed: “A number of independent reports have shown energy policy costs make up a relatively small proportion of household energy bills.”

Days later the government’s own forecaster admits green policy costs will treble…

EU Taxes and Regulations Killed British Steel Industry

save our steel

Dave is in Lanzarote, Sajid Javid is on an ill-timed jolly Down Under and Jeremy Corbyn wants parliament recalled to debate the dying British steel industry. While cheaper Chinese imports may have forced prices down, British steel prices have risen £30 per tonne since Christmas, with EU prices nearly £50 higher than Chinese in November. The EU’s 37 failed anti-dumping measures are just a sideshow to the real problem facing the industry: excessive EU green taxes and carbon caps.

By pledging to cut carbon emissions by “at least 40%” in 2030, Brussels has forced energy companies into a spate of investments and divestments, causing chaos within the industry and sending electricity prices into the stratosphere. In the fracking-friendly USA, electricity costs just 7 pence per kilowatt hour – down 2% from last year. In China the cost of coal power has fallen by 2 pence. In Britain the average price per kilowatt hour for electricity last year was 13.9 pence – over 50% higher. As Kate Hoey says:

“The EU’s regulations on energy production are killing our steel industry. It is impossible for the UK to compete with non-EU countries like the US, where electricity costs half the price, and Norway, where energy is 25 per cent of the UK price. They unlike us are free from dogmatic, ineffective rules on energy sources.”

Even if Osborne wants to intervene, his hands are tied in any bailout situation by strict EU government aid laws. The UK had to grovel to EU bureaucrats for permission to off-set the new higher energy costs for the steel industry. Labour voters and Remain-backing unions like the GMB should face facts – the EU won’t save their members and will stop the government from doing so…

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Quote of the Day

Expelled Tory MP, Richard Benyon, on the short three-day Programme Motion for the Withdrawal Agreement Bill:

“Whether you had three days, three weeks or three months debating this, you would not hear one original argument that we hadn’t otherwise heard in this process…”

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