There’s a solution to this you know

More than 2.3 million families are living in fuel poverty in England – the equivalent of 10% of households, according to government statistics.

Stop making energy more expensive with green taxes.

And an interesting question to which I know the answer but cannot actually prove so.

If we take the definitions of adequate heating of today (there are details of how much of the house should be heated to what temperature for what period of the day, no, really) and that definition of fuel poverty, no more than 10% of income being spent to reach it, well, how many households were in fuel poverty in 2000? 1990? 1980? 1900?

At some point going back we find that the Duke of Westminster was in fuel poverty. And at some interim point we find that just about everyone else was and so on decreasing, perhaps, to this 10% today.

The question, in the end, being well, when was fuel poverty lower than it is today? By today’s heating standards that is?

19 comments on “There’s a solution to this you know

  1. Ecks,

    Taxes on heating are high and people aren’t using enough, by SJW definitions. Drop the taxes and they will use more. I’d say that supports the Pigou argument.

  2. The goal is to make as many people as possible reliant on (and eternally grateful to) the state. The mechanism is back-door redistribution: Tax fuel heavily, then get low-income households (defined as an ever-increasing share of the public) to beg from the state by applying for various subsidy schemes. As a bonus it creates lots of jobs for paper-pushers, who err left.

    They already managed the same trick with healthcare and education: making everyone a supplicant of the state’s largesse.

  3. Today’s heating standards have never applied in the past – because fuel was too scarce or, in the days of coalmining, too expensive for use on this scale.
    While I have no reason to doubt that some mediaeval Grosevenor spent 10% of his income heating his castle in a harsh winter, that was because he could manage to live comfortably on 90% of his income. Most mediaeval peasants could not afford to spend 10% of their income on fuel.

  4. Isn’t think likely to prove rather like lightning? I suspect as heating got cheaper over the last 200 years or so, humanity’s % spend on it remained constant, but the amount heated kept rising.

  5. Who defines “the actual amount needed to heat the home”? So far this season I haven’t needed to turn on the heater yet, and I don’t think I turned it on that much in January or February either.

  6. BiND,

    Pigou taxes are about getting people to pay for the supposed negative externalities of an activity, in this case the imagined global warming consequences of heating their homes.

    These lefty wankers want to push up the price of energy to save the world from global warming and then berate opponents because of the consequences of the high energy prices they wished for.

    If one accepts the argument for Pigou taxes, the only basis for adjusting them would be a different assessment of the value of the negative externalities.

  7. This is a second-order effect from the feel-good “green taxes to save the universe” nonsense. The same people can quite happily support higher energy taxes then complain that people are pushed into “fuel poverty” at the margins, since they don’t see the link. And if they do, it’s for the state as sugar daddy to redistribute some wealth their way, so they can use more energy that they oppose in the first place…

    Then Your Head Asplode.

  8. BiND,
    Lighting, like much consumption, suffers from diminishing returns. The difference between darkness and candlelight means being able to read & write at night, which turns wasted time into productive time. The next step up, from one candle to a thousand candles (or modern equivalent), isn’t nearly as significant.

  9. BIND, my point about lighting isn’t that I expect it to represent the same spend as heating, but the same pattern. Essentially, as lightning got cheaper, humanity has chosen keep spending on lighting as a constant, and have more of it, rather than accept the savings, and carry on living mostly in the dark.

  10. Stop making energy more expensive with green taxes.

    And abolish VAT on domestic fuel. There’s 5% right there. Happy Christmas, pensioners.

    Oh wait – we can’t because Remainers insist we stay in the EU, and the EU insists we charge 5% on your fuel bills.

    Please direct any complaints to the cunts at the Guardian.

  11. ‘Fuel poverty’ – another meaningless abstract for the usual bunch of loons to hyperventilate about.

    How many in ‘fuel poverty’ are flat screen telly, full Sky package, latest smart phone, rich?

    How much of ‘……..* poverty’ (*insert poverty of choice) is actually poor management of personal finances?

  12. Andrew M @ 10.49 + 1

    John77: In an opportunity-rich society like ours, most poverty is a result of laziness – ie it’s a lifestyle choice.

  13. Flat screen telly is a red herring, the running costs for a flat screen telly is the same (or less than) as a CRT telly.

  14. jgh – “Flat screen telly is a red herring, the running costs for a flat screen telly is the same (or less than) as a CRT telly.”

    Yeah but most people bought their non-flat screen TVs back in the 1980s. So it is not just that they are spending our cash, but they are spending our cash recklessly – upgrading when they do not need to.

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