OFGEM, the toothless chihuahua, has told the big six energy companies to sell off between 10% and 20% of their electricity output to allow smaller energy companies to enter the market.
So the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets hopes to create another tier of companies with the same morals and charges as those we have in place.
Cheaper energy will never happen as long as it remains private. In addition, privatisation coupled with heavy subsidies disguises the inadequacies of wind energy.
The utility companies along with BT – who are announcing yet more price increases – should never have been privatised in the first instance.
Ofgem is all wind with no substance and looks to be trying to justify its position in life. The British people from day one of privatisation have been used as a cash cow with little thought to how people manage these inflated fuel bills.
In some instances the energy companies fit meters to people’s homes so they can try to manage their energy use. This comes at a price, as pay metered gas is more expensive. Why is that when these people are struggling to pay for overpriced fuel as it is?
Remember when we were told that North Sea oil and gas was going to be the making of this country? Whatever happened to that dream?
Welcome to the real world of rip-off Britain.
R J Bray
Call centre stars
I JUST want to bring to light a fantastic contribution that was made to Comic Relief in our town.
At FMG Support on St Andrew’s Road nearly 100 employees volunteered their time to take calls for donations on behalf of Comic Relief during the live appeal on BBC 1.
After a full day at work, the hardworking volunteers took calls from 7pm through till midnight.
Maybe people think that the call centres are based in London or at the BBC but many call centres around the country have volunteers who give up their time to help to raise funds.
We had a fantastic evening and took nearly £100,000 in donations so well done to all those volunteers at our Huddersfield Comic Relief call centre!
Name and address supplied
Caring for children
A CAMPAIGN is launching in the Huddersfield area to help support children who are separated from their birth families through private fostering.
Many children in these situations will be very well-cared for but others may feel confused, isolated and sometimes even scared.
Your local council needs you to help them identify these children who could be living in your community.
Private fostering describes an arrangement that lasts for 28 days or more where a child is cared for by someone who isn’t a close relative.
While most private fostering carers do a very good job, some do not.
Please help us keep children safe by notifying your local children’s services department if you think you know of a child being privately fostered.
For more information visit www.somebodyelseschild.org.uk
British Association for Adoption & Fostering
No ‘freeze’ at all
WHEN is a freeze not a freeze? When it’s an increase.
The Government has boasted of a council tax freeze and has poured several millions of pounds into local coffers to enable that decision. Kirklees Council was among the first to confirm that freeze.
I recently received a letter from the council noting the ‘ending of the local council tax reduction scheme for over 65 year olds because of the serious reduction in money available to the council.’ That concession was 3%.
Although the total charge for the appropriate council tax band remains the same as last year, the removal of that concession represents an actual rise of £42.45.
As a pensioner, I am grateful for the earlier concession, but no sleight of accountancy can hide the fact that, for some, this freeze has suddenly melted.
It is a direct increase in taxation which affects among the most vulnerable in society.
Tax payers’ bill again
ONCE again we have a directive from the EU changing years’ old practices, this time that of local councils charging fees for local searches.
The fact that the information provided is then charged for by others does, of course, appear crazy to anyone in their right mind.
However, when KMC embarked on their appeal, they had already been warned by the Government that this was an exercise in futility as it was impossible to win this appeal.
Our own KMC in-house legal team, knowing better than the Government, disagreed and briefed barristers to fight the case (not without council blessing I’m sure).
Clr Tony Woodhead tells us that our QC felt the case could be argued. Well, they were correct it was argued, and lost.
Clr Christine Smith congratulates KMC on their stand, even though this adds legal fees on top of about £500,000 of search fees which may now have to be paid back.
Can we rely on Clrs Woodhead and Smith to ‘dig deep’ or should the local tax payers foot the bill again, as we have for unpaid rents, consultants, pointless bus lanes and so on endlessly?
I HAVE followed the Local Development Framework arguments and I am not a NIMBY (‘not in my back yard’) when it comes to housing development.
Having seen building schemes in various parts of the country, some were good, and some only made the builders money.
I do not, however, like to see small villages swamped by development and changed by planners who have no real idea except political correctness and how they can increase the rates.
And they have certainly not done it for the global warming and environmentalists.
I sent the following thoughts on the issue to the local magazine Emley Voices.
“I am a born and bred Londoner. From the age of 33, however, I lived in Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire before coming to Yorkshire 12 years ago.
“I lived in Leighton Buzzard, Beds, which is slightly bigger than Emley and built up but still had a lot of farmland around it and it was not joined to another village or town.
“I also lived in Fenny Stratford, Bucks, but that had been ruined by being close to Bletchley, and the extent of house-building in nearby Milton Keynes.
“I also lived in Luton for about 10 years on a new estate which now is as big as half of the old part of Luton.
“Emley is surrounded by farmland. It appears to me the councillors do not care about what is Green or Brown land but how they can impose themselves against the will of the people and build across rural landscapes and bring in workers for which there will be no jobs except building jobs.
“Looking at Barnsley, Huddersfield and Wakefield in general why would they do that?
Because nearly all these new people will vote for the current councils.
“And no I am not a diehard Conservative. I left school at 15 and come from Tottenham where a block of wood or a monkey will be elected provided it has a red rosette.
“Most of the people outside the Emley peripheral in and around the three towns mentioned voted Labour.
“They got what they paid for, a bad LDF, but we will suffer because of them.”
THERE was a time several decades ago when a columnist from a top London magazine was sent (as a punishment no doubt) to visit Huddersfield and report on the goings-on in the town.
He reported back and his piece appeared in I think the large, glossy Illustrated London News.
He said in his innocence that in February the people of Huddersfield were very busy with their ‘This is Sunderland’ music festival.
At the time we had a good laugh about that.
NEARLY every day of the year is now an ‘awareness day’, ranging from Wear a Loud Tie Day (January 24) to International Mountain Day (December 16), aimed at promoting interest in or raising funds for different causes.
Understandably, the media has developed awareness day fatigue. Sadly, the International TB Day, on March 23, attracted the interest of just one newspaper.
The Financial Times said that donors are cutting budgets although fresh funding is needed to develop new drugs to fight the most severe forms of tuberculosis which have grown resistant to the basic drug regimen.
TB kills 1.6m people each year and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has long been warning that the drugs are outdated, costly and increasingly ineffective.
Our doctors working throughout the world feel desperately sad when they see more and more of their TB patients dying for want of an effective treatment.
Awareness days are important, and if we are not careful we may soon need an International How Did We Let This Happen? Day.
Executive Director, Médecins Sans Frontières UK
MAY I take the opportunity to thank Kirklees for what I believe is a world-class service?
I had a double mattress delivered one evening this week and was left to dispose of the old one.
I went on-line and quickly found the Kirklees Bulky Waste disposal service.
I entered the request to collect at about 8.30pm and the mattress was collected at 8.45 the following morning!
Brilliant service – and free!