Dealing with the energy crisis

Now that energy costs are leading to hyper-inflation, it is time to contribute to the solution to the energy crisis.

First, there is the immediate problem and then there are long-term issues.

What is the immediate problem?

The important matter is that everyone is able to heat their homes and feed their family, especially through the coming winter.

The proposed solutions in public political debate have been 1. to tax the energy companies with a windfall tax to support the poor, while others have suggested 2. capping the total energy bill. The debate then moves on to, How do you pay for it? and more specifically, Who will pay for it?

These two solutions help the rich as well as the poor, a source of civil unrest, fuelling greater unrest in the future. It is impractical and time-consuming to implement means testing between now and the approaching winter months and they are hardly sustainable solutions for the long term.

Rather, the solution is to be found elsewhere.

The Scottish Christian Party, in its first General Election Manifesto, promoted raising the tax-free threshold, copied by the Liberal Democrats in 2010 and then implemented in David Cameron’s Tory-Lib Dem coalition Government, which has become a bedrock of taxation policy ever since. I propose a similar approach to the energy crisis.

Minimum Household Energy Threshold

The Government does not need to cap energy Bills, but simply to identify and fund the minimum household energy that will heat homes through the winter.

The concept is simple to understand and should be relatively easy to implement quickly.

Welfare in a Christian society

Just as there is a minimal threshold for education, health and wellbeing in a civilised society, which has now extended to a minimum wage and a minimum tax threshold, similarly we need to go further with energy and food.

A minimum heating allowance should be developed post-haste, and a minimum feeding allowance would obviate the need for food banks. In the longer term this develops or leads into the minimum household income that the Christian Party has advocated for some time.

I await new Prime Minister Liz Truss’ solution that she said at today’s Prime Minister’s Questions she will publicize tomorrow.

Update:

8 Sep 2022: Liz Truss’ solution to the energy crisis. A typical household will pay no more than £2,500 a year for energy. Truss said these measures will be in place for the next two years from 1 Oct 2022 and are in addition to the £400 energy bill discount announced by the previous government as part of the Energy Bills Support Scheme. How does this help poor households? The cap is not on the total bill but on the unit cost of energy. The statement is here, with discussion here.

22 Nov 2022: BBC news reported on the extension of a scheme to pay energy bills on prescription, which saves money for the NHS and benefits the disabled as well as relieving their anxiety over the winter. A trial of the Warm Home Prescription Scheme by NHS Trusts in Gloucester, Tees Valley and Aberdeenshire permits GPs to issue a prescription and have proven to be cost-effective. However, there is not a permanent link to the story; the above link is a one-minute audio recording for a temporary period. Could this be because it is too good to be true? It moves in the direction of the Scottish Christian Party policy described above.

27 Dec 20222: David Starkey on GB News tonight suggested on Nigel Farage’s programme that a National Food Service would have been useful during the pandemic lockdown. Slowly, thinking people are feeling their way towards the Christian Party solution. Let me remind you of the National Justice Service also – but this is a long way off.

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