Net Zero Intelligence: British TUC Demands Net Zero AND Energy Subsidies

From Watts Up With That?

Essay by Eric Worrall

After years of pushing Net Zero, the British Trades Union Congress has demanded the British Government continue subsidising energy the TUC helped make unaffordable.

Jeremy Hunt under pressure to cancel planned cut to energy bills support

TUC analysis shows typical household monthly bill likely to reach almost £250 from April

Alex Lawson Energy correspondentSat 25 Feb 2023 11.01 AEDT

Jeremy Hunt is under increasing pressure to cancel a planned cut to energy bill support as research showed that paying for heat and power will “eat up” nearly 10% of workers’ wages after the move in April.

The chancellor has so far resisted calls to ditch the change to the energy price guarantee, which will push up the cap on the typical annual household bill from £2,500 to £3,000.

However, analysis by the Trades Union Congress shows that monthly bills are expected to hit £250 from April – almost 10% of the £2,589 UK monthly salary – up from £208 a month at present.

The energy price guarantee was introduced by the then prime minister Liz Truss last year, who promised Britons that annual bills for a typical household would be limited to £2,500 for two years.

Hunt later made the policy less generous, with a cap of £2,500 for six months until April, rising to £3,000 for a further year.

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National Energy Action predicts the number of households in fuel poverty will rise from 6.7 million to 8.4 million. Photograph: Christopher Thomond/The Guardian

The TUC on Net Zero;

TUC Congress votes to endorse a ‘just transition’ to a UK free from carbon emissions

Chris Jarvis
18 October, 2022 

The TUC agreed to support “a move to net zero that offers a fair deal for workers”

The TUC is holding its annual Congress is meeting in Brighton from 18-20 October. On the first day of the Congress, delegates voted for a motion that called for a ‘just transition’ to a UK free from carbon emissions. 

In backing the motion, the TUC has agreed to support “a move to net zero that offers a fair deal for workers”, “where green jobs are secure, sustainable, good jobs delivered through collective bargaining and where those workers and communities whose industries are threatened by the changes to develop a low-carbon world have jobs protected, through decarbonisation of existing industries in consultation with workers in those industries and their skills fully utilised in the sustainable industries of the future.” 

According to the motion passed by the TUC, there is a need for “state intervention, investment and support to protect jobs, incomes, skills and communities.” 

The motion went on to argue for decarbonisation – with protections for jobs – in a number of key industries, including steel and the transport sector. The motion argued, “A just transition in transportation requires ambitious objectives from government to support the upskilling and reskilling of workers, as well as sustainable employment opportunities that supports the transport sector transitioning to a zero-carbon future.”

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I get that ordinary British families are struggling, and without the subsidy many more people would likely have lost their homes. As a short term solution, the subsidy made sense.

But longer term, a real energy solution is needed, which allows the subsidy to be withdrawn, but keeps energy bills affordable even after the subsidy is gone.

The simple reality is the British state cannot afford to keep paying massive household energy subsidies indefinitely.

If the British Government goes bankrupt, attempting to paper over the cracks in their energy policy until the bitter end, everyone loses their benefits and subsidies. Either the money stops being paid, or the British Pound is devalued so savagely by the resulting economic crisis, the benefit payments might as well be toilet paper for all the good they do to the recipients.

Arguably the toilet paper currency collapse scenario is already in progress. British energy prices keep rising, because the value of the British pound is plummeting vs the cost of imported energy.

If the TUC had advanced a rational plan, demanded immediate restoration of affordable energy, even if that meant re-opening coal plants and coal mines, and if they accepted that a managed phase down of the subsidy would eventually occur when energy prices returned to normal, I would have supported this position wholeheartedly.

Instead, the TUC are demanding a continuation of the insane Net Zero train ride which created this mess, but with a cushion seat for TUC members. A cushion which will do members no good at all, when the subsidies stop flowing.

The TUC are not part of the solution, they are part of the problem.