Tuesday 12 October 2010


I’ve just read in the Daily Telegraph that long range weather forecasters are expecting a very cold winter with temperatures falling as low as -20C.

At the same time Ofgem is predicting that energy prices may rise by as much as 13% during the winter.

So if you put these two things together it looks like this winter will see many poor families and of course older people in real difficulties. The reduction in services forecast by many after the announcement by the Finance Secretary on the 20th of this month will also mean that pensioners will have a harder time coping. It is also a possibility that, despite a categorical denial prior to the election, winter fuel payments, or their scope, may be reduced.

It makes me sad, and ashamed to live in a country where on average somewhere between 2500 and 3000 old people die of cold related illness every winter, with a higher proportion being in Scotland due to the longer and colder winter.

Why can’t the British government do what the French government does and limit the increase in fuel prices to the inflation rate? That would at least put people’s minds at rest a little.

Private companies are only in the supply of energy business for one reason... and that is to make a profit. If they do it on the backs of pensioners, or poor people, who have to choose between eating and heating, so be it. Shareholders still expect their dividend and directors need their bonuses. Governments have to step in and make sure that their people don’t die of cold. We expect no less of them. Labour didn’t. Perhaps the Tories will

The article linked here gives some very obvious advice about getting boilers checked and insulating homes, so it may be worth a read if you can afford the expense involved in the suggestions.

Let’s hope that the weather forecasters and Ofgem are wrong... and that the government has the decency to look after the poor.


  1. so many easy questions !October 12, 2010 3:10 pm

    " Why can’t the British government do what the French government does and limit the increase in fuel prices to the inflation rate?"

    Ah that's an easy one and has been commented on for a few years now.
    Our energy companies are largely owned by foreigners ( France. Spain, China etc). EDF for example is 85% French govt owned. They stop EDF from increasing local prices above a fixed level. EDF makes up the difference by charging a premium on UK customers where it has 8 million consumers.
    The UK was stopped from buying into French energy companies but there is no ban on French companies buying into our energy companies. It's against EU competition rules of course but these aren't usually enforced on the continent.
    Oh by the way you will have to talk to a Mr Li in Hong Kong if you are supplied by EDF and have problems with your supply. He bought the distribution side of EDF last month.

  2. somepapfaedundeeOctober 12, 2010 3:32 pm

    So right tris, sad and shameful indeed.

    We should have a national energy grid which is in public ownership. IT should deliver energy in the UK at rated amounts for businesses and private households. It should sell any surplus where it can.
    For bonus points replace UK with Scotland.

  3. " Why can’t the British government do what the French government does and limit the increase in fuel prices to the inflation rate?"

    Or what about nationalise public utilities?

    MacMillan --selling the family silver ... sigh* so right the GOM was.

  4. Well they could drop the "green" supplement that's added onto every bill in the UK to help us get ready for global warming I suppose.

  5. Well Questions:

    We really need to ask ourselves "why" to all the things you said up there. After all our government has exactly the same choices as the French or Italian or Estonian governments.

    They should never have been privatised in the first place.

    However, it still doesn't deal with the problem. The government could, if it wanted to, tell these companies, no matter who owns them, that they must not increase the price of fuel by more than inflation. It's as simple as that.

  6. I agree Dundee. Something as vital to the people (and as you say industry) as energy should not be in the hands of private companies, no matter their origin.

    It was lunacy to privatize them,.... but then it was done by a lunatic, so what can you expect.

  7. Aye Dean, but I can't see the present government doing that. Imagine what Norman Tebbit or Mrs T would say!!

    Besides, can you imagine what it would cost?

    If I'm not mistaken they are trying to sell off just about everything they still own at the moment including government buildings, which they will lease back...

    But I couldn't agree more. Selling the family silver should have been a criminal offence and Thatcher should do ten years in the Scrubs ;¬)

  8. Well yeah QM, they could do that, and I'd be all for it. But they could also insist that these energy companies don't raise prices by more than inflation.

    The French ones wouldn't get away with doing it at home: I'm not sure why they should do it here just because we have a non interventionist government and have had for 30 years.

    If they don't like it they can always sell up and go home...

  9. Well, thanks for that weather... but I couldn't see where the long term forecast was...

  10. a bitter winter............But in the warm warm May we will see the back of the snp anomaly Government.

    Just a thought to warm the cockles of your heart in the cold!cold weather why I'm glowing already

  11. That's right Mr Mxyzptlk just what the Scottish people need a party, Labour, that is happy for the Scottish people to continue to be ripped off of their bountiful resources.

    The Scottish people should be having cheap gas, electricity and petrol because we are swimming in the stuff but because some people want to stay part of the UK in these unionist parties because they don't want to lose their funding from England and stand on their own two feet then our pensioners have to die of the cold and the rest of us have to struggle to pay our bills.

  12. Will we indeed Niko...

    Who are you going to go into coalition with then so that you can form a government....

    Will that be the Tories?

    Or will it be the Tories' partners?

    Do you think the Scottish Liberals will fold their tents over students' fees just like the English ones did?

    Don't tell me you think you could manage as a minority government ...hah hah hah. That would be worth watching.

    Anyway, a good Labour man would be worried about poor people not managing to heat and eat this winter instead of bragging about something that might or moght not happen.

    Don't forget you have that massive liability of Iain Personality Minus Grey Man to overcome.

  13. Well said Billy!

    The only oil rich nation that got poorer.

  14. I have read that the Russians think they might be in for the coldest winter in 1,000 years, affecting most of europe

  15. Niko, I have an idea to keep warm. Throw some socialists on the fire...

    On second thoughts, shite disnae burn.


  16. Oh lord Anon... that sounds pretty nasty.

    So much for global warming huh?

  17. RantinRab mm better tell the Africans who still use it as cooking fuel but the form you are thinking of are too thick to be combustable however dry one can get them.

    - 20C welcome to the highlands normal winter conditions, the problem comes that those stuck in the central belt which has a damper air suffer more than we do where the humidity is drier.

  18. He he Rab....

    I think the government is probably contemplating that....

  19. I dunno where they thought it was going to be 20 under CH... but certainly it always feels colder when it's damp. The cold seems to cling to you.

    If it is very cold like that then the government will be obliged to hand out cold weather payments to the very poor.

  20. BTW.... for all of you who remember Spookie he's off to London for a bit.

    I thought that this bit from his football club's website would interest you. He is still "da man" when it comes to the beautiful game that he loves so much.

    "Man of the Match: Omar Kader, for once again striking fear into an opposition defence. Even more scared are Spartans fans who are panicking about how we will manage without him once he departs for London."

    So Spook my dear mate, all the best in the Smoke...working abroad is always good for you, and the language isn't that difficult. Just come back home soon mate.

  21. Aye Spook, best of luck and all that!

  22. I'm with QM here. They should stop this 'green' tax at least.

    Must have a word with the local auld wifies about this. See how we're all going to cope again.

    So much for the warmists eh?

    I'm watching the Chilean mining rescue right now. Gripping stuff.

  23. Absolutely Subrosa. They should. It's a total scam.

    Then they should ensure that no one in the supposedly (but in reality not) 6th largest economy in the world dies of the cold in what, by some standards, are pretty mild winters.

    I think you make a good point. We need to check on people. If we pop round to an elderly neighbour and find them sitting in the cold we could always invite them round to watch the telly or for something to eat.

    It breaks my heart to think of a person sitting in the cold with their hat and coat on trying to keep warm, or going to bed at 6 o'clock so that they can save on electricity, and all for some company's profit.

    Yeah. There were 5 people rescued this morning when I was listening to the radio. Great stuff. how clever these engineers are.

  24. So spooks finally becomes a Unionist and leaves for Westminster and a pot of Unionist Gold....

  25. Nah Niko...he's spying out the land...