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Typical Labour - their response is always "spend Spend spend" and they will never change!
The ship is going down and however much ballast they throw overboard the Captain and crew will eventually be disappearing beneath the waves!

Sally. The worrying thing is that Labour are no longer in a position to "Spend, Spend, Spend". They are now reduced to, "Borrow, Borrow, Borrow". For every £150 the poorest receive, they will ultimately pay back far more in: interest on Govt. borrowing, inflation, long-term joblessness.
All GB had to do - the cheapest solution he could have employed - was a reduction of fuel duty. Instead, he is again using a system which will mean more non-jobs in a Civil Service that has consistently provided appallingly low value for money in attempting to make GB's loony financial policies work (CSA, Family Credits ad inf). Until recently I thought that the antics of this Govt. would make a good "Carry On" plot. I now consider Brown and his cabinet to be beyond parody.

The money will be a welcome help to those with children, but its very much a here today gone tomorrow gesture. If Gordon Brown is serious about keeping fuel costs down he should work to ensure that energy providers are British owned and that we look to produce more of our own energy. The fact that we have to import energy means we are subject to imported inflation and everytime we cut interest rates our currency weakens and that imported energy becomes ever more expensive.

Grumpy Old Man - I fear you are right! I was being over-optimistic when I assumed they could still spend without borrowing! The mere fact that the Labour Party itself is allegedly close to bankruptcy says quite a bit about their approach to financial management.

Looks like I'll be a getting 150 quid bribe then, I'll start thinking about which charity I'll be giving it to....

Is this the same government that urges pay restraint in order to curb inflation? How, then, do they square that with throwing more and more tax-payers money at people who, presumably, will then spend it - thus perpetuating inflation?

Good point, Tony. Do you have an opinion as to whether a UK Govt can so safeguard national interests while EU regs. apparently make such a thing impossible?

Another Ten-pence Tax Special; If you are poor, but not old, and childless then there's nothing here for you.

Step forward again, Frank Field!

Is that £150 per child?

We are often told, by those close to him, that Gordon Brown is fundamentally a decent and honourable man. A man more sinned against than sinning who must be shown the same loyalty that he feels toward our nation for the good of our nation.

For the good of our nation. A man who has based the business model for UK plc upon actively encouraging the accumulation of grotesque and unsustainable debt based upon an illusory and artificially created perception of wealth. A man who now proposes to further add to our collective debt for the sake of his own destiny when his only and inevitable destination is career failure.

He has failed his party as Labour lurches into a generation in opposition, he has failed his nation as we witness the societal malaise and economic collapse all around us but most of all he has failed himself if Gordon Brown measures himself by his own alleged standards of honour and decency.

If we are back with RMS Titanic and the band playing on as the frozen abyss looms from the darkness then not only is Captain Brown re-arranging the deckchairs but he has also ordered all of the life rafts to be scuttled.

The decent and honourable thing to do would be to resign immediately and unconditionally.

Grumpy Old Man, I believe our very membership of the EU has now become counter productive and we would be better of out. If the EEC/EC/EU had remained at twelve member states and had developed an internal marrket the project may well have been a great success, however enlargement and the desire to supersede the national sovereignty of every member state has made the EU a hazard to the very future of our country. The fact that we can no longer control our borders or decide the composition of our own economy renders us impotent as a nation.

It seems that senior politicians like to dodge the issue of Europe because it invites too much controversy and withdrawal requires too much forward planning. However politicians need always to be thinking one or two generations ahead, to concern tmemselves about the legacy they will leave in their wake. Only UKIP has had the courage to tackle the question of Europe head on but their quest to swap dependency on EU imports with cheap imports from elsewhere will leave us back where we started. We can never have an economy with permanently low interest rates while we are dependent on imports, cutting rates weakens the Pound and makes imports more expensive. This is the fundamental problem that faces all nations who stop supplying their own domestic market and become dependent on imports.

The more we import, the more we need higher interest rates to keep the imports cheap. So we a strategy to supply our domestic market, particularly in foodstuffs and energy, however such a strategy is impossible while we labour under the restrictions of EU legislation.

Tony Makara, I agree 100% with both your posts (makes a change, I often disagree!)

I agree with Tony Makara that the energy crisis facing this country should be any Government's top priority. Without uninterrupted power and fuel supplies our economy will rapidly grind to a halt,the death rate amongst the elderly will escalate and there will be a serious food shortage.
Unfortunately Cameron does not yet seem to have grasped the urgency of this situation, which far outweighs that of the, as yet totally unproven, threats posed by so called climate change. Clearly, there are many sound reasons for seeking to reduce industrial and other forms of pollution, but not by hysterical over reaction and politically engineered panic.

Unsurprisingly, the EU now controls British energy policies and has produced a "one size fits all" energy policy which, apart from totally unaffordable capital costs, would not be either practical, economically viable or even physically achievable until many years after our present generating capacity had reached critical overload.

Due to a total lack of any energy policy since the present Government came to power,
Britain is now in a much weaker energy position than many of its European neighbours,making us heavily dependent upon imported supplies of both gas and electricity. But,the one power generating source of which we do have ample supplies is coal, and coal fired power stations can be built and commissioned in less than half the time required to commission a new nuclear plant. With modern technology it is also possible to construct coal fired plants with greatly reduced carbon emissions. Windpower is ecologically damaging, will never be economically viable or able to provide more than a small proportion of our total needs and will always require alternative back up.

Unless Cameron wants to be remembered, like Heath, for the introduction of a three day week, he will need to initiate an immediate large scale plan for the construction of both coal fired and nuclear power stations as well as trying to extend the life of our existing ones. This will, of course, bring him into direct conflict with the EU, which would be only too happy to see Britain reduced to being dependent on power imported from Europe or paying immense fines into EU coffers for exceeding its carbon emissions policy.

"More than 7m families who receive child benefit are to be given a one-off payment of £150 to help meet soaring fuel bills under plans being drawn up by Gordon Brown."

Many very well-off people receive child benefit as it isn't means-tested. So isn't this latest handout/bribe yet another case where many wealthy people will be subsidised by (single/childless/retired) people considerably poorer than them?

Way to go - spend like hell and just perhaps he'll get a few votes back. In any case, all of it will on the nation's Gold Card which he is extremely unlikely to have to account for.

Miserable excuse for a policy - Oh, I forgot - Labour always reverts to type.

These payments will help offset new vehicle taxes supported by faux conservative Yeo.
Do you get two payments if you have two families?

"Do you get two payments if you have two families?"

Only if you promise to vote Labour at the next election.

Without uninterrupted power and fuel supplies our economy will rapidly grind to a halt,the death rate amongst the elderly will escalate and there will be a serious food shortage.
The elderly though will be likely to get more help, and so far as industry and the rest of business goes any government is going to prioritise supplies to them to keep them going, price mechanism will help rationalise use of fuel of power and encourage efficiency while renewables are developed and brought online and nuclear is given a boost in the meantime.

I don't think that there should be special tariffs for people using large amounts of electricity, or low tariffs for particular groups, there should be fixed tariffs related to how many units are used - it's hard on a considerable number of people, but there are good reasons in terms of both neccessary investment in new capacity and also in keeping down usuage of fuel and power. There is a responsibility on people to prioritise their usuage.

Sally and 'grumpy old man', you are both right of course. Mr. Brown is a one-track minded person, his first thought (and perhaps in truth, only, spontaneous thought), is to spend money BUT ONLY other people's money in any tough situation. The combination of this simple 'habit', and his other great talent? which is to single-mindedly concentrate his brain capacity, probably for hours on end, to devising new methods of extracting money from the one section of society, which, because it is basicly law-abiding is the easiest to target. This appears to be a job that he really enjoys, but he does NOT seem to be able to accept that this particular group in society is NOT a bottomless pit.

But nevermind that he will always keep trying!

Patsy you are right of course - and that section of society will get its revenge on Labour at the next Election!

As pensioner says - child benefit isn't means tested, everyone gets it. Gordon Brown is entitled to it, so is David Cameron. This is a straightforward resdistribution from the poor childless to the rich with children. I know it isn't considered politically correct to criticise any subsidy of "hard working families" these days, but especially at a time when there is no money in the kitty - if this mesasure is brought in, the Tories MUST heavily target the regressive tax issue. There may be people out there who are delaying having a family because they can't afford it, because they can't afford to move to a bigger house etc - how will they feel if they see ther tax dollars being used to subsidise barristers and merchant bankers?

Yes this is just Labour using other people's money as usual, and of course just brings more people into the grip of dependence on Labour's Big State that appears benevolent and caring, and to be kept there with Labour hoping they will be less likely to 'risk' voting against Labour for fear of this support being taken away. Trapping people into dependence on, and therefore subservient to, the Big State is all rather immoral, especially if this will go to some better-off people. And let's hope the electorate won't be taken in by it - they may see it as bribes. (Didn't Labour attempt something similar before Crewe and Nantwich?).

Absolutely agree with Tony Makara (0945) that If Gordon Brown is serious about keeping fuel costs down he should work to ensure that energy providers are British owned and that we look to produce more of our own energy…. and of course we need to do what we can to be self-dependent for energy (whatever the EU thinks)

Yet another anon, it will be no good the Government helping the elderly with more cash to pay for gas and electricity if the supplies of these are simply not available at times, whatever the cost. The same applies to industry, rationing power will lead to lay offs and increased unemployment and will put many small and medium sized enterprises out of business.
I agree with you that a more responsible attitude to energy wastage is certainly needed, but this would still not save anything like enough to solve the shortfall which we shall be facing,perhaps even as soon as 2012.
Needless to say, the resuscitation of our power industry will require massive investment and the major producers will only be prepared to undertake this (even if they can find or borrow the money in the present circumstances) if the Government can demonstrate a convincing long term energy policy. The Government itself can do nothing to help by way of direct investment, since not only has Mr Brown emptied the country's coffers, but EU regulations (again)would prevent this.
That is why it is so important that Cameron should come up with a fully fledged energy policy now, rather than waiting until nearer the election. If Labour tries to steal it, so what? Everyone will know that it is a Tory policy and Cameron will be the one who will have the task of implementing it. This would also give the power industry the confidence to begin making long term plans now.

I think that the question which is worrying many of us, is do the Tories actually have any developed long term energy policy?
Perhaps a good start would be for David Cameron to stop pretending to be a Jumblie, with blue hands and green hair!

Yet another anon, it will be no good the Government helping the elderly with more cash to pay for gas and electricity if the supplies of these are simply not available at times, whatever the cost.
If power is more expensive then there is a pressure on people to reduce their usuage, things like patio heaters especially, people perhaps will be less likley to leave the window open when the heating is on, people perhaps will be more likely to switch the heating off throughout the months from May to October when it isn't really needed.

The same applies to industry, rationing power will lead to lay offs and increased unemployment and will put many small and medium sized enterprises out of business.
If there were actually to be power shortages, the likliehood is that availability would be restricted to residential users, so that industry could still have the power to function.

In fact if there is a shortage of capacity then presumably the power companies would increase the price further, which would bring down demand, and they would also have a commercial interest in finding extra supplies because they don't get any money on what they don't sell.

Beyond pathtic if true. Child benefit goes to many (like me) who don't need it.It's a cheap bribe. Like the Sunday Times I doubt it will succeed.

Good points about energy in some of the above posts. Earlier in the year I wrote an article for ConHome about the situation in South Africa. One of the daily problems was electricity failures. If we are not careful the UK is heading the same way. We need to think clearly about energy policy in its broadest sense. The recent outbreak of war in Georgia highlights that energy security is looming as the key issue in energy policy. By all means it is inherently good to produce energy more efficiently but we should not take our eye off basic needs. Labour has really screwed up on energy policy and the country is left with an energy gap. It takes many years for any new generating capacity to be built but we have had 11 years of dithering. Windmills are just not going to fill that gap.

When you think of it, it really is shocking, because at least every week if not more frequently, the phrase 'Labour has really screwed up on.....' that Matt Wright uses in his comment above, can be found in some article or other, and not just referring to 'energy', but to education, the efficiency of the police and so on and on.

I really don't think there has been any other government in recent history (recent as in 100 years!), that has been and is so calpable, so useless and so mendacious, as this government is. And the 1992 era was peanuts compared to this lot!

Ulster Tory sees the hand of history on Brown's shoulder. It really is disgusting that Brown is being so selfish - trying to win some seats by screwing the next generations. I thought he couldn't go lower.

We need to draw attention to this type of thing, along with the gold fiasco to kill off any "autumn fightback", and and fightback at all. Maybe go USA style with TV ads?

Just to add to the comments on energy with another angle. Earlier, Ulster Tory was watching Andrew Marr's 24 Hour Britain programme on BB2 (you can probably find it on BBC iPlayer if you want). Anyway, it imposed on me how the energy supply (which then has a knock on effect on things like supply of consumables) to homes is on a knife-edge. At the moment we need to rely on power stations in Europe for electricity when Eastenders finishes!! In an energy crisis, I'm not sure what we'll do.

I'm away here to panic buy bottled water and batteries...

How much will he hand out when Russia cuts off the gas supplies?

At the moment we need to rely on power stations in Europe for electricity when Eastenders finishes!!

I missed that programme, but there's always been a few problems like that and why nuclear has been a commercial problem as it's not that easily turn off and onable, ie. they could produce that power, just not that suddenly. - Remembering back to a field trip for physics there was a hydro dam that they would pump water to the top of a hill in low usage times and then drop it when the soaps finished... I guess it's just easier to leech from someone else now that to go to that hassle.

Regarding the new policy, yes it's just another bribe. I expect the conservatives aren't making too much hay of it as they want to see what happens about the leadership come conference time, but if they don't wipe the floor with them after that then I'll be very disappointed.

Better spend it on kids than marriage.

Democracy ? The will of the people..I despair!

How much longer have we to put up with this government we have come to loathe and hate and which has blatantly lied and mis- represented this Nation's sentiments towards the Lisbon Treaty in general and the EU Commission in particular whence it came.

Mr Brown and his Labour Party with his parsimonious hand-outs, treats us like little children in a class at school. He... makes... me... SICK !

Not sure if this has been pointed out above, but is a scorched earth policy very wise if he is still hoping to overcome the deficit?

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