Pressure from various quarters, seems to be building on the Government to charge a ‘windfall tax’ on the energy suppliers. They have after all made enormous additional profits from the rising costs of oil and gas, even though when these costs have decreased, the price to customers has not been reduced.
The false argument is that this windfall tax would be used to reduce fuel costs in particular to the most vulnerable. The argument is a false one because (a) the Government would be unlikely to pass all this on to consumers (b) the suppliers would simply increase their prices to make up the shortfall in their balance sheets (c) any reductions passed on by Government would be a one off and we would be in the same position twelve months from now.
It was said at the time that when Margaret Thatcher privatised the energy industry that she was selling off the family silver and how right they were; the chickens are now coming home to roost. What has been done though, can be undone. Our Nation should not be dependant on private companies, many of them foreign owned, for it’s vital energy. The time is right to re-nationalise them. One wholly State owned energy company would have enormous buying power and with no investors requiring an annual large dividend payout prices would fall dramatically and be under greater control by the end users, the voting public.
The cost in financial terms would of course be great but would represent an investment in the future of our Nation. It may well require that a fresh look is taken at other drains on the Exchequer such as do we actually need several billion Pounds worth of Aircraft carriers and do we really see a use for billions of Pounds worth of Trident submarines or billions spent on useless Identity Cards?
It could be done, it should be done, all it needs is a leader and a government with vision and bravery. Sadly therefore it is not likely to happen but here’s hoping.