PM and Energy Minister conspire to blame foreigners

Today is great red herring day. The Energy Minister tells us the PM feels our pain when we face daylight robbery at the petrol pumps. The PM is valiantly battling for us and for lower prices in Saudi Arabia.

Is this, I ask myself, the same Prime Minister who governs one of the world’s oil-producing countries, who has put up taxes on North Sea production instead of offering tax reductions to encourage new exploration and development? Is this the same PM who as Chancellor presided over large rises in petrol tax, and who as Prime Minister is delighted to haul in so much more revenue from the extra VAT on the higher prices? Does this Prime Minister understand that UK tax is one a half times the amount of the underlying price of the product?

If the PM really felt our pain and wanted to do something about it he could stay at home and save the cost of air travel. He could announce a cut in the duty on petrol to offset the increases in oil taxes he is now enjoying. He could offer tax incentives to North Sea producers to produce and develop more oil production at home. He could make decisions on nuclear and renewables to increase our output of non carbon based electricity.

Instead we are treated to more expensive spin. Let’s hope the Saudis do decide to pump a bit more oil, and let’s hope that shakes some speculators out of the market. It will not, however, change the rip-off at the pumps that comes not from foreign oil producers but from our own UK government. Why won’t he meet the North Sea producers again and say this time that he is sorry for the extra taxes he has landed us with, and will do what it takes to speed extraction in our own oil and gas fields? Instead of blaming foreigners he should see that the UK energy crisis has been made at home. This government has failed to make the capacity decisions needed over the last ten years, and has seen the green argument as a good excuse to put taxes up on many kinds of energy.

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  1. Steven_L
    Posted June 21, 2008 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    Yep, that's pretty much what I was thinking.

  2. Mark Wadsworth
    Posted June 21, 2008 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    Excellent! Nothing to add.

  3. Neil Craig
    Posted June 21, 2008 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    You are right about their failure to make any rational decisions on power for the last 10 years. I am glad that both main parties now, at least officially, support nuclear. On the other hand there is more talk than action. We know French reactors are safe because they have been there for decades & we know our current (& previous) sites are suitable for reactors because they have been for decades. They should just be allowed to get on cutting metal & pouring concrete – Monday morning 8.30.

    We run a very severe risk of blackouts as the last reactors go offline & new EU emission controls come in in 2015. We run a significant risk even before that. In all the world the UK has the lowest amount of electricity/GDP of any large developed country & is marginally better than only Denmark, Ireland, Singapore & Hong Kong (both city states) among the smaller ones.

    Labour have been lamentable over this but the Tories are barely better & of course the Lib Dems are still away with the fairies. Meanwhile 24,000 British pensioners die unneccessarily each year of fuel poverty, but don't make as much fuss doing it as the eco-fascists.

  4. Kit
    Posted June 21, 2008 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    He could temporary relax the regulations on the Sulphur content of diesel. This would allow refineries use of cheaper sour crude.

  5. mikestallard
    Posted June 21, 2008 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    It must be really frustrating sitting there in Parliament watching a completely incompetent set of ministers mouthing what they think us idiots want to hear and then doing the exact opposite.
    I think I can understand why David Davis got so angry that he resigned.
    Every single word you have written is, of course, true.

  6. Stuart Fairney
    Posted June 22, 2008 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    I'm not sure anyone believes the spin anymore. It's getting very much like Goebbels and "the Russians will be defeated before the gates of Berlin" Sounds great in the Bunker, but there's no one left outside to believe it.

  7. Adrian Peirson
    Posted June 22, 2008 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    We spens over 100 Billion on Quangos and Non Jobs, getting rid of these would allow tax on fuel to be significantly relaxed.

    We aretaxed so much now, with no sign of any letup on this that I can only assume they are aiming for a situation where all of our Income is Tax and we are Paid' credits by the state.

    IE we are in a virtual Communist Command economy.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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