At dinner parties it is one of the subjects you should avoid. But this week, more than any other week it is the subject on everyone’s minds and lips. The General Election campaign has only two more days to run. So which party are you going to vote for? Oh sorry, you haven’t made up your mind yet? Oh, they are all the same these political parties when they get into power? Was it not Labour who said they would ensure the end of sleaze? Hmmm….
Well, time then that I offered you some help isn’t it? All the information is there on the internet. It is probably just that you haven’t had time to read it.
So if we contain our analysis to the matter of climate change, the environment and the green policies which our new government will adopt, that will help to establish the differences between the main parties won’t it?
OK, so here is what the main parties have to say about their green policies….these are only excerpts and are not meant to tell you absolutely everything they promise, since you can examine each manifesto for yourself on each party’s website if you are interested….(some of them are a bit wordy). But I hope to clear up what they are all saying so that you can clearly see the individual message of each party.
So first of all the Conservatives. What do they say?
We need to cut our carbon emissions to tackle the challenge of climate change. but the low carbon economy also provides exciting opportunities for British businesses. We will encourage private sector investment to put Britain at the forefront of the green technology revolution, creating jobs and new businesses across the country……we will create Britain’s first Green Investment Bank – which will draw together money currently divided across existing government initiatives, leveraging private sector capital to finance new green technology start-ups….
All fine stuff…..
We will increase the proportion of tax revenues accounted for by environmental taxes, ensuring that any additional revenues from new green taxes that are principally designed as an environmental measure to change behaviour are used to reduce the burden of taxation elsewhere.
What on earth does this paragraph mean? If this is meant to clearly state what the Tories will do then I am a little mystified…so let’s delve a little deeper….
….rising energy costs hit families hard, so we will create a ‘green Deal’, giving every home up to £6,500 worth of energy improvement measures – with more for hard-to-treat homes – paid for out of savings made on fuel bills over 25 years.
Oh great – that’s how we’ll pay for the new windows then. And they are going to create jobs. And another bank…..
Let’s turn to the Labour Party now……This is what they promise…..
• Achieve around 40 per cent low-carbon electricity by 2020 and create 400,000 new green jobs by 2015.
• Make greener living easier and fairer through ‘pay as you save’ home energy insulation, energy-bill discounts for pensioners and requiring landlords to properly insulate rented homes.
Everyone can play their part in reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment. Through our requirement that energy companies provide subsidies for insulation, we will ensure that all household lofts and cavity walls are insulated, where practical, by 2015. By 2020 every home will have a smart meter to help control energy use and enable cheaper tariffs; and we will enable seven million homes to have a fuller ‘eco-upgrade’.
We will legislate to introduce ‘Pay As You Save’ financing schemes under which home- energy improvements can be paid for from the savings they generate on energy bills. Already with our new ‘feed- in tariffs’ and incentive for renewable heat, households fitting micro-generation technologies such as solar can earn financial rewards from the energy they generate themselves.
So that’s the new windows and some insulation as well now. All eco-upgraded. Lovely. But they are also talking about creating jobs aren’t they?
And the Lib Dems…..ooh I could get the manifesto Blackberry or Iphone app…..(actually I don’t need them as I only have a Nokia mobile phone….it makes and receives phone calls…)
So what do they say? They plan on:-
Beginning a ten-year programme of home insulation, offering a home energy improvement package of up to £10,000 per home, paid for by the savings from lower energy bills, and make sure every new home is fully energy-efficient by improving building regulations.
Set a target for 40 per cent of UK electricity to come from clean, non-carbon-emitting sources by 2020, rising to 100 per cent by 2050, underpinned by guaranteed price support; and ensure that at least three-quarters of this new renewable energy comes from marine and offshore sources.
Allowing individuals to save through our UK Infrastructure Bank, offering stable long-term returns.
Investing up to £400 million in refurbishing shipyards in the North of England and Scotland so that they can manufacture offshore wind turbines and other marine renewable energy equipment. As part of this scheme we will write off backdated business rates demands from before April 2008 for businesses in ports.
Launching an ‘Eco Cash-Back’ scheme, for one year only, which will give you £400 if you install double glazing, replace an old boiler, or install micro-generation. If you choose micro-generation, you will be able to sell the energy back to the National Grid at a profit, with a more attractive feed-in tariff than under current government plans.
Set aside extra money for schools to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings. They will pay back the loan over time from energy savings, creating a rolling fund to help insulate other public buildings.
Begin a national programme to insulate many more homes paid for by the savings from lower energy bills.
Great – £10K to upgrade the eco-ness of the flat. Fab. New windows, insulation and probably a new boiler now! And they too think that there will be jobs created at refurbished shipyards – in Scotland too! And another bank. Great, just great.
And just because I live in Scotland I get an extra party. (Oh, I do like parties.) Here’s the promise from the SNP (who already run The Scottish Government):-
…it would enable us to save a proportion of our growing energy wealth – from oil and gas today and renewable energy in the future – in an energy Fund. This fund would act like a national savings account – or as the Norwegians describe their fund, a national pension fund – and would deliver greater financial security and an income for Scotland well into the future.
Scotland has enormous green energy potential and the SNP is determined to make the most of this opportunity for our nation. We need to maximise investment in the research and infrastructure so we can turn potential today into tens of thousands of green jobs tomorrow.
Our aim is to increase low carbon employment in Scotland by 60,000 by 2020 as part of our low carbon strategy, with renewable energy supporting 26,000 jobs, emerging low carbon technologies a further 26,000 and environmental management 8,000 more.
At Westminster we will be demanding the release of the Fossil Fuel Levy money so it can be used to deliver £200 million new investment in renewables. This fund can only be used for investment in green energy projects yet the London Treasury still prevents that money from being put to good use to create employment in communities across Scotland.
And we will work to remove obstacles to further investment in wave, tidal and wind generation in Scotland by ending the discriminatory transmission charging regime – a system that sees Scottish generators paying far more to connect to the grid than companies elsewhere in the UK. A generator in Scotland can pay £20 per kilowatt hour while companies in the south of England receive a subsidy. The SNP has worked with the Scottish energy companies to produce an alternative to the current discredited system and remove what has been described by one as a ‘major barrier to investment’.
Taking forward the green economy is of course about more than renewables and that’s why Scotland must be part of the first phase of the proposed UK high speed rail network. This move will boost business and reduce carbon emissions by delivering an effective alternative to domestic flights. It will take 30 years for high speed rail to reach Scotland under Labour or Tory plans and this is not acceptable.
So not much to help us fix up the house, but again loads of new jobs in the renewable energy sector….
And, most importantly Scotland gets top billing. It’s mentioned in every paragraph. I wonder whether the Tories or Labour have actually heard of us here. Well there is some excuse for the Tories – they only have one MP here at the moment anyway, don’t they? Don’t know what Labour think about us Scots…….
That’s today’s political posting then. And I am sure you can clearly see the differences between all the parties now can’t you? Anything that’s unclear just let me know!