Jacob Rees-Mogg: Tackle fuel poverty by cutting unnecessary costs of energy
The Leader of the Opposition's desire to freeze energy prices may be economically illiterate and return to the policies of the 1970s which saw regular power cuts but nonetheless it reflected a deep concern.
The cost of energy has been increasing and looks set to rise further putting considerable pressure on household budgets. This has a direct effect as gas, electricity and oil bills rise but it also has an indirect one. This is partly because of the increased cost of hydrocarbon derived fertilisers which leads to higher food prices. Distribution systems have become more costly as have plastics. All of this combines to inflate the cost of living.
Unfortunately, part of this squeeze has come from deliberate acts of government policy. The nation is still suffering from the hubristic green zeal that led to costs being piled on the economy when times were good. The 2005 Climate Change Act committed us to long-term targets that are now unaffordable and the European Union is forcing us to close our coal-fuelled electricity generation. This is the cheapest source of electricity so every watt that is removed raises the average price for consumers.
This needs to change and the focus of government policy ought to be the cost of living. Even those who accept anthropomorphic climate change recognise that the United Kingdom's contribution is tiny compared to the rest of the world, especially to the emerging markets whose emissions increase in weeks by the amount that we emit each year.
Fuel poverty is a growing problem in this constituency, it is time to help people's standard of living improve and cut the unnecessary costs of energy.