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.
Just as the Scottish Christian Party promoted raising the tax-free threshold in its first General Election Manifesto, 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.
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. Does this help poor households? The statement is here, with discussion here.