Sometimes the government listens…

Some of you write in and say what can be done, and assert the government does not listen and does not change its mind.

On March 15th, March 19th, June 13th, July 12th and Agust 8th I drew attention here to a potential  contradiction between the government’s wish to pursue an industrial led recovery, and  the dear energy policy it was following. 

Listen then to Greg Barker, Minister in the energy department. He admitted recently that “just piling on costs” to business could drive firms elsewhere. The Sunday Times reported that civil servants are drawing up options to make energy cheaper for industry, and stated that the PM is “very very supportive of this agenda”

Watch this space. I know it does not amount to the complete  change on global warming theory many of you want,  but it it could be practical progress for UK industry at a time when it needs all the help it can get.


  1. APL
    September 26, 2011

    JR: “The Sunday Times reported that civil servants are drawing up options .. ”

    Good for you.

    Now let’s wait and see what the civil servants come up with?

    JR: “to make energy cheaper for industry”

    What is the excise and/or VAT on fuel/energy for industrial use?

    1. Disaffected
      September 27, 2011

      Mr Bentley recently made the point that the Govt could stop fuel poverty over night if ti was means tested. He claimed BG had done the maths and if help to 20% of recipients was doubled it would cut fuel poverty to those that were in need. This was already known and it was a political decision to give something to everyone to win votes. It has not worked and still the current Govt has done nothing. Even if those in need were given twice the amount ti would also save the Govt millions, additionally cut the hidden tariff for obligation to environment- which is a subsidy for private wind machine makers- and fuel prices could be substantially reduced for all and therefore more money to spend to provide growth.

  2. Mick Anderson
    September 26, 2011

    It would be nice to think that this Prime Ministerial support will lead to a reduction in the taxation on fuel – industrial, domestic and (especially) road.

    Those who take the largest share of the money have the greatest scope to furnish a reduction.

    He could also show intent to progress by relieving Mr Huhne and Mr Cable of their posts.

  3. oldtimer
    September 26, 2011

    I will believe when I see it happening. And why is this just confined to business? Consumers are being screwed too.

  4. ken from glos
    September 26, 2011

    The Huhne wont let you and Cameron will give in to him.

    1. Tim
      September 26, 2011

      I’m still at a total loss to understand why our leaders of the three main parties are sold on this man made carbon climate change hogwash. Look up the last NASA report a few months ago based on its data from real satelites not computer models. There has been no global warming over the last 10-15 years so the warmists change the name to climate change. There’s always been climate change!! Some of our pensioners will have to choose between food or heating this winter. Disgraceful, windmills that don’t work first for Lord Sheffields profits. 036% of the atmoshere is CO2. Most of this is from volcanoes and our oceans. Its a trace gas and a plant food.
      Its reported on another popular political blog that the same Huhnes and Co who promoted the Euro are the same ones who support climate change now. Somehow I just don’t trust their judgment. Stop raising stealth taxes on unproven science whilst giving advantage to our competitors!!

      1. lifelogic
        September 27, 2011

        I agree fully and even if the theory were true the solutions they proposed to not actually work anyway.

        It is usually the same people as exaggerated the Millennium computer bug, CJD, the coming Ice age, Bird Flu, Swine Flu and wanted us to join the Euro and the ERM.

        Their record is not good but they have done very well from it all.

  5. Ralph Musgrave
    September 26, 2011

    I object to government pursuing an “industrial led recovery”. It’s up to the consumer / customer to decide whether they want more manufactured stuff or more services. We’d be better off without government meddlers.

    1. forthurst
      September 27, 2011

      Surely, the government is meddling by not allowing private industry to provide energy at the best price?

  6. Duyfken
    September 26, 2011

    Great. It would be nice also if members of the government were to acknowledge your input (and that of other like-minded MPs), and show they have modified policy as a result.

  7. David Ashton
    September 26, 2011

    Surely this means that the costs of the feed-in-tariffs will just be loaded on to the domestic consumers.

  8. Mark
    September 26, 2011

    We can fiddle with taxes and subsidies, but the only real way to make energy cheaper is to allow unsubsidised competition between the cheapest sources rather than investing in the most expensive methods of production as a vanity project. We can’t as a nation afford vanity projects: we’ve too large a deficit – both government and balance of payments – as it is.

    We need to remember that using British gas to make our own products rather than letting the Chinese burn more coal to make things for us represents a much bigger contribution to reducing CO2 emissions than erecting windmills.

    1. Electro-Kevin
      September 26, 2011

      Not forgetting the fuel that the Christmas Toy Barge uses bringing the tat up to us.

  9. Publius
    September 26, 2011

    ‘The Sunday Times reported that civil servants are drawing up options to make energy cheaper for industry, and stated that the PM is “very very supportive of this agenda”’

    — Perhaps it just the phraseology, but I’m afraid I just don’t believe a word of it, John. Or perhaps I’ve just stopped believing anything Cameron says.

    1. Paul H
      September 26, 2011

      Correct – you have to measure “very very supportive” on a calibrated scale of zero to “cast-iron guarantee”.

      Yes JR, I know this comment will annoy you given your repeated claim that Cameron could no longer hold a referendum once Lisbon was ratified (not true anyway IMHO, but let’s ignore that for now). However what you seem always to forget (or choose to forget) is the picture that Cameron intended to convey with his “guarantee” – an picture that he has further betrayed by continuing to give away powers to the EU despite his other promises in that regard.

  10. Mactheknife
    September 26, 2011

    Mr Redwood, this is indeed a welcome development but it talks only about industry. What about the individual consumers who are also affected ? I have a letter from Greg Barker in response to my letter to the PM on the disasterous climate change policies and it was no more than a glib brush off and full of “green” AGW politically correct nonsense. So excuse me if I don’t hold my breath on this. Actions speak louder than words.
    For anyone interested on the dire state of our generating capacity and the need to develop gas, nuclear and clean coal stations search on YouTube for the speech by Rupert Soames of Aggreko to the Scottish Parliament. He gave it them straight between the eyes. Read it here: or watch it here : Enjoy !!

    Reply: So far they only propose to tackle part of the problem, but it’s a start.

    1. oldtimer
      September 27, 2011

      Thank you for the link to the excellent speech by Rupert Soames. I will draw it to the attention of my own MP.

  11. lifelogic
    September 26, 2011

    All I seek is a rational energy policy bases on science, economics and engineering – not one based on religion. Many businesses have already gone, due to high energy costs, they will not returning. It takes very little to make a company unable to compete on the world stage and we already have insane employment laws, a high cost base, absurd over taxation and regulations to contend with.

    I assume taxpayers will be continuing to pay Prince Charles ten+ times the value of his PV electricity for 25 years. Even though most will clearly be produced in summer, during the middle of the day when energy is often cheapest and will need gas back up or similar costing yet more.

    I assume the options being considered will also be very severely limited by the eco religions, the absurd stance of Huhne and the Libdems and the processes all made far more complex and long winded by EU bureaucrats, international obligations and irrational EU demands.

    Still let us wait and see, in hope of some sanity, for a change.

    1. lifelogic
      September 26, 2011

      Of course one of the main energy cost of business is that they have to pay their staff enough so they can put petrol in their cars and get to and from work. Perhaps typically £40 PW of their wages goes (after tax and the two National Insurances and fuel duty) just for petrol used – with perhaps £34 of this £40 going directly to the state before the employee earns anything what so ever for his perhaps 4 hours a week labours.

    2. uanime5
      September 27, 2011

      Why do you always say we need an energy policy based on science, then when scientists say global warming is real claim that they’re all part of some mass conspiracy?

      The scientific evidence is that global warming is real and that energy generation that produces large amounts of CO2 is bad for the environment. A scientific approach will involve reducing CO2 emissions through nuclear power and renewable energy. Calling it a religion because you don’t like it won’t change this.

      1. Electro-Kevin
        September 27, 2011

        Uanime5 – If you’re saying that we need to reduce CO2 emissions then you must surely agree that we need to limit our population and immigration levels.

        Do you ?

      2. lifelogic
        October 1, 2011

        Because it is so clearly bogus science – sensible scientists think it is, at best, a huge exaggeration.

  12. Alex
    September 26, 2011

    Encouraging. And vast quantities of gas under Lancashire might be a game changer if the sandals and bobble-hat brigade are faced down (I mean the the Green movement, not the Lib Dems).

  13. Jonathan
    September 26, 2011

    With the huge amount of shale gas reserves being discovered we are in a position where our energy bills should be rapidly diminishing; Government shouldn’t be in the business of trying to create artificial markets with our money.

  14. Electro-Kevin
    September 26, 2011

    Thanks for you efforts, Mr Redwood. However, we all suspect that ‘green taxes’ are merely a guise for taxation full stop.

    The green agenda is a boon for socialists as it curtails capitalism as much as minority rights curtails freedom.

  15. waramess
    September 26, 2011

    “The Sunday Times reported that civil servants are drawing up options to make energy cheaper for industry,” Incredible that it is left to The Sunday Times to report this, if it is indeed true “………and stated that the PM is “very very supportive of this agenda”,” hardly a ringing endorsment of a cheap energy policy.

    I know when it comes to the Government listening we might clutch at any old straw that comes our way but, even were it to be true you can bet any relief given to industry will be by taxing the rest of the population.

    The Government is not listening and its intention is to continue not listening because they are much cleverer than the rest of us, and that is why they are in such an unholy mess and digging themselves in ever more deeply.

  16. Caterpillar
    September 26, 2011

    Well I will wait to hear and see the proposals, and the argumentation behind them, could be interesting.

    [On the global warming / climate change wider issue, I declare I am a sceptic – neither denier nor believer. I am waiting for the US report on surface temperature data and the IPCC2014 report by which time the models, and hopefully the behaviour, will have responded to the criticisms. Nevertheless, I would argue that there are policy changes that can be made within the global warming believer framework. I think particularly of planning. One area in which the UK will suffer if GW is true is in increases in summer night time city temperatures, and these are known to correlate to increases in deaths. This can be countered by reducing city build densities … so I know many people wish to continue supporting the desert greenbelt, but please turn brownfield green and really push to build out onto the greenbelts . Still, I know this is my bias, but it is an example of when the context is uncertain the data canbe used flexibly.]

    1. Electro-Kevin
      September 26, 2011

      Caterpillar – Do those same city densities save lives when it gets cold ? It seems that our winters are getting colder and our summers cooler too.

      Something has gone drastically wrong in recent years for us to be considering building on greenbelt.

    2. lojolondon
      September 27, 2011

      Well, Caterpillar, instead of ‘waiting until 2014’ to make your mind up, why not put your head out the door and see what the temperature is? Do that often enough and you will know for yourself if it is warming or cooling….

    3. Mactheknife
      September 27, 2011

      You are not aware that the IPCC has been “knobbled” already as far as the next report is concerned, with the usual suspects (Greenpeace, WWF) already putting themselves front and centre dictating what goes in the report.

      I’m afraid it will be no more balanced than any of the previous reports. If they are not even prepared to correct the gross errors in the previous “CAGW Bible” or include scientifc papers which disagree with their religion then there is no hope for this one.

  17. Andrew Smith
    September 26, 2011

    Referring to an application to build a 20 acre solar plant in my district I wrote to the local press

    “Readers should rejoice that a 20 acre solar electricity plant has been rejected because the Green Belt was designated as such to prevent development. Mike Tobin (a local resident) was absolutely right on that (Epping Guardian September 22nd).

    It is, also, a great relief to electricity users. They would have paid dearly for the plant whose owners would have received outrageous prices for electricity, the cost of which we all bear through our bills.

    The Energy Secretary (Chris Huhne, LibDem) chastised power companies last week, but it is the policies of the coalition government which is causing untold harm to households. Even if you believe that alternative, non-fossil fuel, methods are needed to generate electricity, solar panels are the worst possible solution.

    This is what one of the high-priests of “man-made global warming”, George Monbiot, had to say about solar power in The Guardian (1 March 2010): “The government is about to shift £8.6 billion from the poor to the middle classes …………… Seldom has there been a bigger public rip-off; seldom has less fuss been made about it.”

    Even in Australia, which is much more sunny on average than Waltham Cross, the government has cancelled a similar programme because of “a substantial blowout in costs”.

    Make no mistake, the politicians are loading us with enormous and growing energy costs for generations to come. One result is that manufacturing is moving to China where they do not bother with windmills and solar power. They make the solar power panels at cheaper prices and sell them to us because their factories do not pay excessive electricity costs. According to Benny Peiser of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (reported in the FT August 2009) “the real benefactors of Germany’s green laws are Asian competitors, especially from China.”

    The government’s policies on solar power and wind power are costly and unreliable and not a single traditional power plant can be closed, because we need reliable back-up even when the sun is not shining nor the wind blowing.

    Given the coalition government’s new policy of a presumption in favour of development we may assume the applicant will re-apply and may appeal and win. If that happens we must hold both national and local politicians to account for their decision.

    1. sm
      September 27, 2011

      ”to China where they do not bother with windmills and solar power.”


      ”In 2010, China became the largest wind energy provider worldwide,”
      ”China aims to “have 100 gigawatts (GW) of on-grid wind power generating capacity by the end of 2015”

      Solar power you are probably right.

      As in all things its a balance and how you fund it.
      Nuclear power when developed was not costless or commercially viable without massive state support.

      As mentioned in earlier posts, new technology is and strategies can moderate any problems. Fast response gas turbines are now available , turbine design and materials improve. I think its too early to tell if windpower is uncompetitive with gas (depending on your timeframe). I suspect in 10 years we may think again.

      We dont pay to import wind as a fuel, it currently displaces gas and coal use.
      I am in favour of nuclear,gas,coal and renewables (strategic subsidy is not wrong-its a balance). The green tax should not fall on power bills unless specifically identified by as pence kw hour in total and for each power type.

      The problem we have is a massive economic one caused by debt, politics and greed and fractional reserve banking system.

      We do need common sense, and we should consider why we do not pay to build and own the assets.We are paying for them?

      I do wonder why on earth do not use the political & tax system with the same zeal to
      1)reduce our insane immigration levels, (and consequent demands)
      2)curb central and local goverment waste.
      3)reduce perverse incentives at the bottom and top of the tax scales in that order.

      Do we really have capitalism in the West? only for some it would seem?
      The low wage or would be private sector worker feels all the competition with little leverage. Shouldn’t we be in this together? Most of us recognise we will be, if not now, probably sooner than later.

      1. Mark
        September 28, 2011

        Don’t be fooled by apparently large numbers: China generated 4,207 TWh in 2010, and renewables accounted for less than 0.5% of their primary energy supply even with 45GW of installed wind by year end. Even if they achieve 100GW installed capacity by 2015, actual utilisation will probably be more like 25GW, or about 220 TWh. Their consumption has been growing at around 13% p.a., which would make it over 7,700Twh in 2015. Most of the increase will be coal fired.

        (Data from BP statistical review of world energy)

  18. John Hill & Co.
    September 26, 2011

    This sounds like a subsidy to “industry” to offset the effect of other subsidies. This is socialist market-fixing, no doubt with associated unintended consequences and inefficiency. We need a free market in energy and (as others have mentioned) rapid development of shale gas instead of costly renewables.

  19. alan jutson
    September 26, 2011

    Well I supose it is a start if the PM is at least admitting he is having second thoughts.

    But why has it taken so long, given it is so bloody obvious.

    The simple truth John is the idea of green energy is a long term worthy ideal, but more importantly for government it is a tax cash cow, another means of stealth theft from the population.

    Why pay anyone overpriced feed in tarrifs to generate electricity by an inefficient method, why pay windmill owners a standby payment for when the wind does not blow, or blows too hard, when you have to have an alternative method on standby ticking over, ready to take over, thus paying twice.

    The sooner we get some commonsense back into electricity production the better. The sooner we build some new, gas, coal or whatever power stations the better.

    Once again we will have to rely upon more and more outside sources for our future electricity, and even more will arrive via the cable (not Vince) from France, rather than our own production methods.

    Huhne, his green agenda and the tax penalties nonesense have to be sidelined for the time being until he can prove an substantiate that his ideas are both cost effective, and cost neutral for business and consumers.
    If he can do neither, then expect people to have to go without heat, and jobs to go abroad.

  20. Damien
    September 27, 2011

    We need an energy plan. North Sea oil is not sufficient for our needs and renewable can only provide a miniscule contribution. Shale gas seems to be worth exploring. As the world population heads towards 7 billion we need to become self sufficient. I wouldn’t like to be relying on Russia for gas, especially under Putin !

    1. Mark
      September 27, 2011

      It is the Germans who will be relying on Russia: the Nordstream pipeline across the Baltic, just opened, is the latest tie-in. We would have to rely on imported LNG: last year Qatar was our main LNG source. They did spend some of the earnings helping with ousting Gadaffi in Libya, but being inside the Straits of Hormuz, there is a clear security of supply risk that doesn’t apply to our other energy sources.

  21. Leslie Smith
    September 27, 2011

    When it comes to the crunch, all clever Politicians have a good “nose” for votes coming up to Election Time. Today, also in the forseeable future, there are no votes, in more expensive energy.( or Green Energy) Average Mr. Joe Soap, is fed up already with higher Utility bills, higher Petrol bills, coupled to little or no salary increases, over some period. The Public “Angst Level” is at an all time high, across the UK. ( and across Europe) Politicians waking tomorrow, and for years to come, will be dealing with an angry, cynical, fed up and frightened Public. These are the Voters, who keep your “Seats” warm, in the London Parliament and elsewhere. The main reason Jon Redwood has our attention, is that firstly he actually reads our comments. He often gives calm, reasoned and fair answers. BUT,….. crucially and of most importance, he never insults our intelligence, nor our knowledge/or understanding of Politics, Finance, Economics or International Relations. He is the best possible Candidate, in my view, for the future Emergency Coalition Government which will come, after the next Election. ( which could come sooner than the Cameron/Clegg “Dancing Duet” seem to think or plan for.( Such a Government will be backed by the Military)

    The only reason that this Coalition is holding up in the Opinion Polls, is that they have no Opposition. Ed Miliband would not even get past the initial interview in any lower or middle management position in any Company in the UK, small or large. He comes across as a “Weaning Prat” probably brought up by an Academic who never actually used his hands, except to sharpen his pencil. The best possible description of his Number Two, is “Balls”

    The People in Parliament today are grasping for the “right language” to re-engage the Public, so that we “again take them all seriously”. As they( excluding Mr Redwood and one or two others) really have no idea of the size, nor complexity, of this huge Global Financial, Political and Economic, they can only comically react, after Events have taken place. Too many of them are Emperors/Empresses without clothes. They are naked before us.

    Lets us see how they react to Marshall Law in Greece, anytime over the next three months. Let us see them debating “Green Energy” in the streets, once they are facing the Real Voters, who have lost their jobs, or cannot pay their mortgage anymore. Voters have turned on the “Silent Button” to politicians of all colours. They are no longer listening to any of this Political Woffle/Noise – Just watching the Government’s actions and timing of Events. Voters have already decided- The Game is out of control- Events, Dear Boy, Events, That is what kills Political Careers………… This time, all Politicians, of all Parties, will be held to account, possibly starting with Tony Blair. ( see tonight’s BBC Despatches) We have not forgotten, nor forgiven him for Iraq, no matter how many times he flies around the World or how many $ Millions he might accumulate.

    They will all have to rebuild what they call themselves, ( Honourable Members of Parliament)

  22. lojolondon
    September 27, 2011

    John, I am sorry to say that to select some industries and give them a break in energy costs is MISSING THE WHOLE POINT!! It is the sort of thing Labour would do. What about the rest of the economy? I want to quote directly from Charlie Booker below – read it and realise that giving a tax break to selected high energy companies is avoiding the point and also putting a completely unnecessary load on everyone, even those being given a break.
    As the Swiss and Austrian Alps last week experienced heavy snowfalls never before seen in September, independent forecasters here in Britain predicted another freezing, snowy winter, which would make it the third in a row (and for the northern hemisphere as a whole the fourth).
    Yet the Climate Change Act, passed by our MPs in 2008 in their childish belief that we were in the grip of runaway global warming, remains on the statute book. By official figures it is the most expensive law ever to go through Parliament, committing Britain, uniquely in the world, to spend £18 billion every year until 2050.
    Has there ever been such a disconnect with reality in the entire history of British politics?
    I have to say again :
    – The earth is NOT warming, it has been cooling since 1998
    – CO2 does not affect the temperature of the earth
    – Man does not affect the level of CO2 in the atmosphere
    – The UK does not affect the level of man-made CO2 in the atmosphere

    So what on earth are we doing???

    Reply: I do argue for cheaper energy for all, and do not argue for UK unilateral action against human generated CO2.

  23. Adam5x5
    September 27, 2011

    Help for UK industry…

    No doubt by hammering the domestic user even more. But hey, who cares if the poorer people and pensioners can’t afford to heat their homes? At least we’ll get lots of lovely tax from people going to work.
    Oh, wait. We’ve started taxing fuel so much no-one bothers going to work as it costs too much…

    Why can’t the government stop taxing and interfering so much? Just leave us all to get on with our lives instead of trying to change our behaviour for the ‘ better’ ?

  24. Javelin
    September 27, 2011

    Global warming is complete nonsense – any graph on temperature and sea levels going back to the last ice age will tell you that climate changes as well as weather. Before you embark on billions of pounds of wasted money spend 15 minutes on google.

    Anthropogenic Global warming is one of the worst excesses of bloated Government. Billions wasted with no evidence. It is psuedo-scientific bunkem that is driven by anti-industrial politics.

  25. Viv Evans
    September 27, 2011

    I read that report in the Sunday Times, and thought to myself: why not do this for private households as well?
    After all, if we have very much less money to spend due to the high, ‘green’-driven energy prices – who’ll buy what industries produce?

    Or are we already entering a status similar to that in China in the 1950s, where we produce for export only, never mind the hardships for the population as a whole?

  26. Frank Salmon
    September 27, 2011

    The writing was on the wall when Cameron insisted this was going to be the greenest government ever.
    Some extrra points:
    Sunspots have reduced – hence global cooling until they come back.
    CO2 rises as a result of warming, and it is a byproduct, not a cause.
    Current policies spearhead our economic decline and we stand to go the way of Greece unless we have fundmental changes.

    I urge you to be more forthright on these issues and the excellent points made by your conributors.

    1. uanime5
      September 27, 2011

      Do you have an peer reviewed science to back up these claims?

  27. RDM
    September 27, 2011

    Talking about listening;

    What about the new AWR directive killing, stone dead, the contract market? An important and flexible tool used within most high value added (R&D) sectors.

    And what about the one in, one out rule?


    Unemployed, a contractor for the last 15yrs!

  28. Steve Whitfield
    September 27, 2011

    Mr Redwood, I think you should accept any word of support from David Cameron with great caution!.

    Wasn’t the prime minister ,”very very supportive”, or similar, of Nadine Dorries in her quest to change abortion legislation. That was until he calculated he would rather stay on side with his Liberal party friends by humiliating her at PMQ’s with his schoolboy humour.
    I could also mention his U turn on the EU constitution referendum as further evidence of his lack of any real conviction or political beliefs.

    Cameron, like Blair has no firm beliefs – only a ruthless desire for power and influence at all costs. He is a reasonable actor and can make an attempt to portray conviction – but this is just an attempt to tell his audience what he thinks they want to hear.
    Nothing comes from the heart with Cameron – it comes from the spin doctors and focus groups. That is why I hope wise heads like yours and a few others in the Conservative party can just exert enough influence to minimise the damage.

    Since Cameron has given this policy the kiss of death, I expect energy intensive industries to take a kicking in the years to come.

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