Tag Archives: profits

The Tories’ 1% insurance cut ramp

Would you buy a second-hand insurance cut from the Tories?   The fact that this con is the focus of the Tory assault in week 1 speaks volumes.

To suggest, as they do, that it can be funded by £7bn ‘efficiency savings’ is for the birds, coming on top of the £11bn efficiency savings already pencilled in by the Government (which, frankly, is already stretching it).

Even leaving that aside, the Tories quoted in aid Peter Gershon as their efficiency adviser who has done similar exercises before.    But Gershon’s work was recently cited by the National Audit Office as a typical fiddle – only  a quarter of his claimed savings were genuine.   So would you buy a used efficiency scheme off him either?

The there’s the businessmen lining up to offer plaudits to the Tory proposal, hypocritically saying they’re concerned because it will hit jobs.   What they’re really worried about of course is that it will hit their profits.

But it’s more than protecting their profits from a 1% insurance increase that they’re worried about.    What they’ve really got their sights set on of course, these fair-weather friends of New Labour, is the profits jackpot if the Tories win – cutting wages back even further as a proportion of the national cake in order to bloat profits further still.

Bully for Vince Cable too for saying how dare these multi-millionaire businessmen who pay themselves 100 times what their average employees get dictate to us how to run the economy when they have recently been paying themselves such exorbitant pay-offs (£60 million in the case of Bob Diamond of Barclays, one of the architects of the financial meltdown)?

And why anyway are the Tories fastening on the 1% insurance cut when they are ignoring the far, far bigger issues of radical banking reform to stop another financial collapse, making the banks lend to businesses and homeowners rather than consolidating their balance sheets to feather their own nest, dealing with inequality which has now post-Thatcher reached grotesquely unjust proportions, and building houses for the 1.8 million households on Council waiting lists?   We know the answer.    They have no intention whatever of tackling the real ills in Britain today because they strongly support things as they are.

The great energy rip-off

The big energy companies are notoriously quick to put up petrol prices when wholesale oil prices rise but equally slow to put them down when oil prices fall, thus making large unwarranted profits at consumers’ expense by keeping prices sticky at the high end.   Now another market scam in energy supply has been unearthed by Which? in this month’s current issue.

CERT, the Government’s Carbon Emissions Reduction Target, requires the Big 6 – British Gas, EDF, Eon, Npower, Scottish & Southern, and Scottish Power – to help customers install energy-saving measures.   So far, so altruistic.   But that’s not how it ends up.

First, the most effective way of saving energy is solid wall insulation for Britain’s 6.6 million old and poorly- insulated solid-wall properties which could save a typical household’s gas bill by £420 a year.   But the companies don’t do this because under CERT rules customers have to stump up 80% of the cost  which can be around £7,250 for a typical home.   Instead they mail-out unsolicited light bulbs – a staggering 182 million of them – which save each household just £14 each year.   This invalidates the whole purpose of the exercise.

Second, and worse still, customers don’t realise – and are certainly not told – that they themselves are paying for these ‘benefits’.   The regulator Ofgem has recently estimated that the average household pays no less than £84 a year in ‘environmental levies’ on its energy bills, of which £45 goes directly towards funding CERT.   In other words, customers are being forced to fund carbon reduction out of their own (squeezed) budgets, and because the Government keeps no check on how this £45 is spent, it has minimalist impact in cutting carbon, but leaves the companies with large unearned profits.

Not bad for two scams – and more to come.