Over on Political Betting yesterday, there was a post about recent polling as reported by You Gov for the Sunday Times.
PB, which has been keeping an eye on Labour’s polling fortunes since Ed Miliband’s junk status promise to enforce a 20 month price freeze for energy, focused on one question which offered respondents a clearly biased selection of choices…
Not only unworkable because it assumes wholesale market prices are static and factors that can increase or reduce price do not exists, but easy to circumvent by companies putting up energy prices before and after the period to recoup the same revenue they would have collected anyway. It’s a false choice, a bit like the mythical ‘renegotiation’ option as an alternative to leaving the EU.
Excess profits tax on energy companies:
The key word here is ‘excess’. Who determines what is reasonable and what isn’t? Add to this the fact that most of the money energy companies make is from generating and selling energy to the wholesale market. Is that what will be taxed? They don’t say. The profit from energy customers is around 5%. Is that what will be taxed? If so, is 5% profit ‘excessive’? In any case, how does a tax help we consumers? Will it be paid back to us, or just become another sum bundled in with general taxation for the government to fritter away as it sees fit? Anyway, we have to ask, how many companies would happily trot along working for just a 5% mark up on the cost of delivering a good or service? Another false choice.
Reducing green taxes:
More popular than a windfall tax, but less popular than the Miliband con trick. The obvious thing here is reducing green taxes and keeping them down will have a longer term effect on prices than a 20 month price hike holiday that only delays the inevitable. But what this does not do is change the policy that sets a target for the percentage of renewable generated power in the energy mix. So we still end up paying, whether through our bills or through general taxation, unless the Climate Change Act is repealed. So this is also a false choice.
All of this shows that the polling was utter garbage. Heads are being filled with ideas that are unworkable or non existent options that are no antidote to the problem of politically motivated rises in energy costs.
As a result the poll responses are utterly meaningless and does nothing but keep consumers in ignorance of the real reasons for much of the energy price rises. There was no more value to it than asking people whether a phoenix, a minotaur or a winged horse should be the next 10 Downing Street pet.