I can remember when I was a young-married, with a young family, how very hard we found it to make ends meet.
It was the hire purchase payments which crippled us. The TV, the cooker, the washing machine, the drier, the car … because we had no money, we had to get them all on the never-never, and the repayments were crippling.
The red-letter day – the turning point in our finances as a family – was when we finally managed to get a little behind us so that we could borrow from ourselves. Just not having to pay interest to all those finance companies made us a richer family.
Another annoyance I remember was rent. Paying what was for us a large sum every week – straight into someone else’s pocket! It annoyed the hell out of me. But eventually we managed to buy our own house … and now I have retired I find that I own my house, and I live in it rent-free.
These are the money-matters that exercise ordinary people like you and me!
Britain’s energy needs
According to the internet, over the next 20 years, Britain needs to invest £200 billion into new generating infrastructure.
I am sure that, when he tells you this, Chris Huhne is relying on the ‘oh-my-God’ factor.
Actually, before we start, £200 billion is not a lot.
It’s £10 billion a year.
- what we’re paying for the two new aircraft carriers.
- what the government promised to cut this summer from its procurement (‘stationery’) budget.
- less than we wasted (£12 billion) on the NHS computer bungle.
It’s £333 per household per year for 20 years.
According to the government, this sum is beyond the country’s ability to pay.
Apparently, the only way we as a country can afford this humongous sum is to do what is essentially a hire purchase deal with the electricity companies – they will make the capital investment, and then they will charge it to us, the consumers, through increased electricity bills.
Of course, at the end of the 20 years, we will not OWN the generating infrastructure. The electricity companies will own it, and we the public will go on paying for it – like a rented house – year after year after year.
And, of course, the most ridiculous thing is that, even though the investment will be made by the energy companies, at the end of the day IT IS STILL US WHO ARE GOING TO BE BUYING IT, though our electricity bills!
A matter of political dogma
So here is the nub of the matter.
The government is essentially buying our power stations on the never-never, and committing us to pay the money back, with interest, for ever, out of our electricity bills.
When we could, by putting up taxes by £6 a week, pay for it ourselves, and end up owning it ourselves.
They are doing this of course because every politician nowadays is committed to reducing taxes – especially the Tories – because it upsets their rich sponsors to put up taxes.
They are doing it because not one of them has ever had to struggle to meet HP payments, or lived in hock to the money lender ... and because not one of these rich boys has ever had to understand money.