Renewable electricity in the UK is supported primarily by the Renewables Obligation (RO), an obligation on licenced electricity suppliers to purchase a proportion of their electricity from renewable sources. Most types of renewable electricity are eligible, and every unit from every eligible project is treated as having an equal value to the environment. Until now, that is....
It has emerged from a leaked proposal that the EU Commission is admitting its Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) would only delay aviation emissions three to six months by 2050. ETS would only reduce the growth of airtravel by less than 3% over a 15-year period. This shows that quotas will not deliver necessary results in tackling climate change. Airlines will be making huge profits enabling them to buy as many carbon permits as they require. ETS only promotes "business as usual" with more profits to "dirty" industries.
According to the Telegraph, couples who pretend they are living apart to claim bigger benefit payments are costing the taxpayer more than £400m a year. It is estimated that up to 200,000 people were declaring themselves lone parents "fraudulently". This is the result of Gordon Brown's dysfunctional benefit system.
The Department of Trade and Industry has released £50m over the next 18 months to support the Low Carbon Buildings Programme. It has chosen seven companies to receive its funding. There is an increasing number of companies that operate in the renewable energy field and that was clearly demonstrated by the fact that 53 companies expressed interest in the DTI grant.
A National Audit Office (NAO) report found that the public sector paid £2.8bn to external consultants and it is a rise of 33% over three years. According to the report, departments are spending huge sums with no major returns and Whitehall fails to look at their own staff to do the same job for almost half the cost.
Home Office, the deprtment declared "not fit for purpose" is still struggling to make any improvements. Today's papers are reporting that the two terror suspects who went on the run in August are still at large. According to the National Audit Office (NAO) there is a lack of financial management and the accounts are still in a mess. The NAO found that the Home Office does not know exactly how many staff it employs and is £240m in the red. Sounds like a department fit to secure law and order....
Tony Blair outlined 500 measures to cut the £14bn cost of red tape to individuals, firms and charities yesterday. The aim is to save up to £2bn a year from measures which include simplifying forms for planning applications and rules covering fire certificates.
The MoD has faced an increased criticism over the last couple of weeks, the most prominent critic being Gen. Sir Michael Jackson. While the troops in the front line have to cope with poor equipment and little pay, the MoD has spent
- Over £71m in the year 2005-6 on consultancy fees; and
- £40m in 2006-7 (an increase of 60% from 2003-4) on Civil Servant bonuses.
David Miliband, the Environment Secretary, is expected to announce a proposal for carbon "credit cards" for every citizen. People would receive an annual allowance to use on food, travel and energy and it would be possible to buy or sell credit. This, as carbon quotas on businesses, will not be the solution to climate change. It will only enforce the current situation.
The Guardian reports that 13 NHS trusts are "technically bankrupt with no chance of meeting a legal obligation to balance their books." The deficits are mainly caused by a financial regime known as Resource Accounting and Budgeting (RAB). RAB has caused deficits to escalate and for example, Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich culmulative deficit by end of March is predicted to stand at over £65 million.
The Government is only now promising to look into the problems caused by RAB. It should have been clear from the first few years that the system is not working for trusts and should have changed it then and not now as some of the trusts are in deep deficits.
- The Chancellor has raised taxes by £6bn since the 2005 general election
- A family pays £200 per year more taxes
- He promised £200 for every pupil in the PBR but only £20 is new money
- He promised £36bn for education in the PBR but only £100m is new money
The Chancellor has commissioned 39 indpendent reviews since 1997 and most of them have quickly disappeared without making any impact. At first it seemed a good idea to bring in outside expertise but increasingly such reviews only justify what the Chancellor has already decided to do. Labelling them as independent can easily be questioned as the support and advice comes from the civil service.
Yesterday's Pre-Budget Report was another example of Gordon's nannying. Now mothers will receive child benefits even before their baby is born and more worryingly the Government will provide books to children up to the age of 11. The Chancellor should concentrate his efforts on improving the education instead of deciding what books children should be reading.
According to the Lib Dems, the Conservative's "may have started to talk green but are continuing to act dirty":
- David Cameron switched to a supposedly green hybrid Lexus GS, but it is so big that it is more polluting than the 10 best selling models in the UK.
- The Conservatives were silent or critical during the debate on the recent Finance Bill on fuel duty, vehicle excise duty, climate change levy, land fill tax and aggregates levy. Their year long tax commission did not come up with a single proposal for David Cameron on green taxes, stating that this was "beyond their remit".
The PM has defended the NHS reform and is convinced that it will lead to a better patient care. It comes as an IPPR report supports the closure of local A&E departments to be replaced by a network of specialist units. But a vast majority of public and practicioners are not convinced of the changes, which was demonstrated at the last week's rally. And the Guardian reports that ministers have accepted in private that they have failed to sell NHS reform effectively to the public.
The NHS is likely to give dance classes to tackle declining fitness levels and counter a national obesity crisis according to the Independent. Trials have been carried out costing £2.5 million and the DoH said that dance classes have proven to be very successful. It is not clear how the people who can dance on the NHS' cost will be chosen. Can anyone wishing to avoid paying for their dance classes or gym membership sign up? What if some people do not like dancing and will demand their exercise costs to be paid by the NHS?
According to the Guardian the Home Office is considering to offer the public a chance to purchase shares in new prisons under a "buy to let" scheme. The Treasury has refused to find extra funding to sort out the prisons crisis and that has led John Reid resorting to such extreme measures.
Tony Blair is planning to double the number of new city academies from 200 to 400 by 2010. The PM is pointing to the improved exam results to justify the move. But only a month a ago, an Ofsted report found that a few of the small number of exisitng academies have cost the taxpayer almost double the amount that was originally planned and some of them are still lagging behind with no real improvements.
The government asked the Office of the Rail Regulator (ORR) to investigate lack of competition for train rolling stock this June. The report, published yesterday (29 Nov) found that the industry is inefficient but a number of the problems arise from government's own policies.
The main problem is that there are only three companies providing rolling stock and the market is very uncompetitive. This has led to higher prices for passangers and lower quality of service. One factor keeping the market as it is, is the DfT policies. Very often the award of a rail franchise is so specific, that the choice of stock is very limited.