Saturday, 4 December 2010

Scrap the climate change levy and save a few lives.

I am as you know, dearest reader, notably grumpy. Hardly a day passes without me finding some aspect of what's going on out there to rant, whinge and moan about. Of course, all my grumbles are entirely justified - we do pay too much tax for too little return, the state does try to control and direct us to its preferred style of compliance and West Ham United don't win nearly enough football matches.

However, I refuse to grumble about snow. Every year it's the same. We get a pile of snow (it always 'sweeps across the country') and there's chaos, gridlock and a load of tosh filling up the media about how one or other columnist couldn't make it to the shops meaning her children missed out on organic polenta and had to eat sliced white bread and baked beans from the corner shop instead. And yes I took five hours to travel home - a journey that usually takes about an hour. But this isn't a big deal. It's usually one day - a couple of days at the most - before we can get about our daily lives without a great deal of fuss and bother.

However, cold weather kills people. It's much better at killing people than hot weather (whatever the climate change obsessives want to tell you) which is why the climate change levy is a moral outrage. By driving up the price of heating our homes it is directly contributing to the deaths of the old and the ill. Now I appreciate that many greens are closet eugenicists who see our future as something akin to Logan's Run but I am uncomfortable with supporting a tax that kills people.

We pontificate about fuel poverty while supporting a tax that promotes fuel poverty? Look at the impact of high fuel prices:

Policy in this area has been developed around the concept of ‘fuel poverty’ – a household being considered to be fuel poor if it would have to spend more than 10% of its income on fuel to keep the home at an adequate level of comfort, as well as provide for cooking and lighting. Current estimates are that 4.5 – 5 million homes fall under this definition. In addition, it is recognised that there are around 25,000 excess winter deaths each year. Small scale studies suggest that as many as 400,000 emergency admissions could be the result of living in inadequately heated homes.

Simply by abolishing the climate change levy we could take tens of thousands of elderly people, young families and people with long-term ill-health out of 'fuel poverty'. And maybe keep them alive. We spend millions fussing about smoking and drinking and miss the very clear evidence that the biggest preventable cause of death is cold not smoking or drinking.

So scrap the climate change levy and save a few lives.


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