Net Zero Intelligence: British TUC Demands Net Zero AND Energy Subsidies

Essay by Eric Worrall

After years of pushing Net Zero, the British Trades Union Congress has demanded the British Government continue subsidising energy the TUC helped make unaffordable.

Jeremy Hunt under pressure to cancel planned cut to energy bills support

TUC analysis shows typical household monthly bill likely to reach almost £250 from April

Alex Lawson Energy correspondentSat 25 Feb 2023 11.01 AEDT

Jeremy Hunt is under increasing pressure to cancel a planned cut to energy bill support as research showed that paying for heat and power will “eat up” nearly 10% of workers’ wages after the move in April.

The chancellor has so far resisted calls to ditch the change to the energy price guarantee, which will push up the cap on the typical annual household bill from £2,500 to £3,000.

However, analysis by the Trades Union Congress shows that monthly bills are expected to hit £250 from April – almost 10% of the £2,589 UK monthly salary – up from £208 a month at present.

The energy price guarantee was introduced by the then prime minister Liz Truss last year, who promised Britons that annual bills for a typical household would be limited to £2,500 for two years.

Hunt later made the policy less generous, with a cap of £2,500 for six months until April, rising to £3,000 for a further year.

Read more:

The TUC on Net Zero;

TUC Congress votes to endorse a ‘just transition’ to a UK free from carbon emissions

Chris Jarvis
18 October, 2022 

The TUC agreed to support “a move to net zero that offers a fair deal for workers”

The TUC is holding its annual Congress is meeting in Brighton from 18-20 October. On the first day of the Congress, delegates voted for a motion that called for a ‘just transition’ to a UK free from carbon emissions. 

In backing the motion, the TUC has agreed to support “a move to net zero that offers a fair deal for workers”, “where green jobs are secure, sustainable, good jobs delivered through collective bargaining and where those workers and communities whose industries are threatened by the changes to develop a low-carbon world have jobs protected, through decarbonisation of existing industries in consultation with workers in those industries and their skills fully utilised in the sustainable industries of the future.” 

According to the motion passed by the TUC, there is a need for “state intervention, investment and support to protect jobs, incomes, skills and communities.” 

The motion went on to argue for decarbonisation – with protections for jobs – in a number of key industries, including steel and the transport sector. The motion argued, “A just transition in transportation requires ambitious objectives from government to support the upskilling and reskilling of workers, as well as sustainable employment opportunities that supports the transport sector transitioning to a zero-carbon future.”

Read more:

I get that ordinary British families are struggling, and without the subsidy many more people would likely have lost their homes. As a short term solution, the subsidy made sense.

But longer term, a real energy solution is needed, which allows the subsidy to be withdrawn, but keeps energy bills affordable even after the subsidy is gone.

The simple reality is the British state cannot afford to keep paying massive household energy subsidies indefinitely.

If the British Government goes bankrupt, attempting to paper over the cracks in their energy policy until the bitter end, everyone loses their benefits and subsidies. Either the money stops being paid, or the British Pound is devalued so savagely by the resulting economic crisis, the benefit payments might as well be toilet paper for all the good they do to the recipients.

Arguably the toilet paper currency collapse scenario is already in progress. British energy prices keep rising, because the value of the British pound is plummeting vs the cost of imported energy.

If the TUC had advanced a rational plan, demanded immediate restoration of affordable energy, even if that meant re-opening coal plants and coal mines, and if they accepted that a managed phase down of the subsidy would eventually occur when energy prices returned to normal, I would have supported this position wholeheartedly.

Instead, the TUC are demanding a continuation of the insane Net Zero train ride which created this mess, but with a cushion seat for TUC members. A cushion which will do members no good at all, when the subsidies stop flowing.

The TUC are not part of the solution, they are part of the problem.

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Old England
February 25, 2023 6:08 am

Net Zero will see the greatest loss of jobs, industrial and other, that the UK has ever seen before. The economy will be cratered and China, India and elsewhere will pick up the jobs and manufacturing (what’s currently left of it in the UK) and we will see coal fired emissions continue to rise and see No effect on global temperatures. Net Zero is a national economic suicide pact – shame the TUC is too blinded by climate propaganda to understand that.

Last edited 3 months ago by Old England
Reply to  Old England
February 25, 2023 6:16 am

I really wondered whether the Net Zero train ride was suicide or murder. But then, why can’t it be both?

Richard Greene
Reply to  Scissor
February 25, 2023 6:25 am

Don’t worry, the coming blackouts will stop Nut Zero.
I hope.

Reply to  Scissor
February 25, 2023 11:23 am

The favoured place for Murdercide seems to be America, and anyone in the Clinton orbit.

Scarecrow Repair
Reply to  Old England
February 25, 2023 8:58 am

I don’t quite agree with the “economic suicide” aspect — things literally, physically and financially, cannot continue to that degree. At some point before that, conditions will be so bad that the government will no longer have enough control over the population. 1989-1991 provide excellent examples.

Reply to  Scarecrow Repair
February 25, 2023 9:23 am

I think they can. By the time the scale of the disaster becomes clear it may be too late to avert it. Remember that in the UK there is unanimity from Plaid Cymru, SNP, Liberals, Greens, Labour, Conservatives. The only public political dissent (not very categorical) is from Reform, and in the UK electoral system they are not going anywhere for at least 10 years, if then. Look at how many seats UKIP got, for its substantial share of votes? None.

They are going to go for it regardless. This is a country whose poltical establishment has not even admitted the issue of intermittency, despite having been given an object lesson in its implications last November. They really think storage on the scale required is somehow going to just arrive. They do not yet realize that the EV bans will result in the collapse of the UK auto industry, and as travel gets harder, all kinds of consequential economic shrinkage.

By the time they wake up an economic collapse will be well under way. Its very possible and getting more likely with each passing month.

To get your head around the situation – Keir Starmer, probably the next Prime Minister, recently seriously spoke about taking electricity generation to net zero by 2030. No idea. But no-one contradicted him.

Scarecrow Repair
Reply to  michel
February 25, 2023 9:31 am

No. It is literally, and I do mean literally, not figuratively, impossible to implement Net Zero, both physically and financially. The Communist Bloc nations had far more dictatorial power than the UK now, and they couldn’t defeat reality. Neither can the UK government. It doesn’t matter how hard they wish for it, they cannot defeat reality. Tinkerbell won’t help, neither will the IPCC.

Reply to  Scarecrow Repair
February 25, 2023 12:23 pm

That’s a pragmatic approach.

I recall the state of the UK in the late 60’s, early 70’s. The sick man of Europe. Unions and rampant socialism were running the place and no one had a clue what to do about the state of the place. Nationalised industries were a disaster and sucking the country dry. Private businesses couldn’t compete because of Union demands so the country was sliding down a hole of misery.

Like her or loath her, Thatcher stormed into No. 10 like Trump on steroids and turned a ship which hitherto had been unturnable, and she did it on a sixpence.

I watched as committed anti Tory socialists gnashed their teeth and wailed at her privatisation of nationalised businesses, whilst buying their council houses at a tenth of their market value (which, to be fair, fairly represented the rents they had paid on them over the years) and gobbled up BT and British Gas shares.

We lost manufacturing to the far east but Thatcher was shrewd enough to realise that unless we were prepared to live on coolie’s wages and a bowl of rice a day as a reward we could never compete.

So she turned to the City of London to trade at the top of the global food chain. She turned to the legal profession to let them loose across the world generating taxable income from the legal side of a burgeoning global business community.

Thatcher understood that finance was top dog. Nothing runs without money, so controlling it or at least having a say in controlling it could never be overtaken. Law is the glue that holds commerce together, control that and the money and a future is guaranteed.

Then Blair, a privileged, Fettes educated (Eton of the north), champagne socialist, with no clue as to how the other half lives, fukked it all up.

My point is that we can recover from this craap. We have done it before and we will do it again.

Last edited 3 months ago by HotScot
Reply to  HotScot
February 25, 2023 1:04 pm

Yes, but the question is how bad it will get before the recovery effort gets started. Worse than you think, would be my answer. A lot worse.

Richard Greene
Reply to  HotScot
February 26, 2023 1:34 am

Thatcher and Reagan seem like once in a lifetime miracles, compared with current leadership in the US and UK. But it’s good to read that you are optimistic.

Reply to  Scarecrow Repair
February 25, 2023 1:01 pm

SR, I suppose you’re right in that to get to absolute zero probably is impossible. The UK has probably never been there in as long as we have historical records. As long as there are people living in the UK there will be some human emissions.

But what I think you are underestimating is how much damage they can do, and how much damage they are prepared to accept, in the effort to get close to zero. By ‘they’ i man the UK political class of all parties. And I think you’re underestimating how close to net zero they can get if there is no limit, as there seems not to be, to the damage they are prepared to do.

I think its very possible that they can end up with an unreliable grid, heating systems that it cannot power, vehicles that cannot be charged, and a pretty thoroughgoing financial and economic collapse.

And I think this may happen because they embark on projects, like the move to EVs or the conversion of the grid to wind and solar, while not implementing the prerequisites of doing them successfully. Like, storage. But only find out the consequences of these failures when they are too far in to stop the disaster.

When, for instance, all the factories have been converted to EVs and there just are no more ICE plants. But people won’t buy electric, or if they do, find they cannot use them for what they need to do and assumed they could. Or when all the new build housing is running, or failing to run, on heat pumps. And when the blackouts are happening more and more often and the car chargers and heat pumps are being more frequently shut off by smart meters.

The country could stumble into it one piecemeal decision at a time.

You want an example, there is one readily to hand in the effort to promote cycling. You can do that, all you have to do is construct safe segregated bikeways and provide secure storage for bikes when people get where they are going. The UK government just promoted cycling, and is surprised when there is a sudden upsurge in people trying it, followed by the same people finding out what its like and stopping.

Why did anyone ever think that publicity was going to make people cycle more, when the same conditions that led them to stop en mass in the first place were still operating?

Reply to  michel
February 25, 2023 4:24 pm

Keir Starmer, probably the next Prime Minister, recently seriously spoke about taking electricity generation to net zero by 2030. No idea.
But no-one contradicted him.
The Labour Party is democratic & the leader is always right …
therefor NO ONE is allowed to contradict him !

Dave Andrews
Reply to  1saveenergy
February 26, 2023 7:39 am

Unfortunately I think Starmer is relying on Ed Miliband, the original author of the UK’s climate change act, to advise him on nut zero. Ed had a University Prof father and a much more intelligent brother so he thinks he knows what he is doing. His whole career should tell him he is wrong in that estimate. Some people are just able to fool themselves all the time.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  michel
February 26, 2023 7:29 am

According to the UK Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders over 182,000 people are employed directly in automobile manufacturing and some 780,000 across the wider automotive industry.. The industry accounts for 10% of total UK exports with more than 150 countries importing UK produced vehicles and generates £77 bn of trade pa.

Over 30 manufacturers build 70 + models of vehicle and in 2021 over 859,000 cars, 72,900 commercial vehicles and 1.6m engines were built in the UK. 8 out of 10 cars produced in the UK are exported to over 140 different markets.

Losing that will leave a very big hole in the economy

Richard Greene
February 25, 2023 6:23 am

Eric Worrall is the best climate and energy reporter I know of, and I trust him. But sometimes his articles are hard to believe, especially about the UK, EU and Australia. You read the article and find it hard to believe a nation could be that stupid. But the news always turns out to be true.

Household energy would include natural gas, heating oil, electricity and gasoline or diesel fuel. I was not exactly sure how household energy is defined in the UK. The original article didn’t help with the definition.

The United Kingdom may soon want a name change to The Disunited Kingdom, with their current energy policy. And Not So Great Britain

The United Kingdom is used to describe the political unit consisting of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Great Britain is the geographical term referring to the island simply known as Britain. England is one of the countries that make up the British Isles.

Reply to  Richard Greene
February 25, 2023 8:11 am

I trust him. But sometimes his articles are hard to believe”

Then, do the reading!

Richard Greene
Reply to  strativarius
February 25, 2023 8:46 am

Thanks for your puzzling comment.

My first comment said:
“The original article didn’t help with the definition”, which obviously means I did further reading to clarify the Worrall article, and still did not find a precise definition of what “household energy” meant. And that is problem with the article.

Reply to  Richard Greene
February 25, 2023 8:52 am

I was amused by the juxtaposition

Reply to  Richard Greene
February 25, 2023 10:53 am

So there’s no real problem with the article then. All you really need to know is that energy prices are through the roof, Rishi Canute is keeping left pocket costs down by making citizens pay them from the right pocket, and the TUC wants to take the money for themselves.
What I find truly depressing is how so many people have been so easily duped. Our rulers are so close to fooling all of the people all of the time.

Reply to  Mike Jonas
February 25, 2023 12:40 pm

Pointless engaging with Mr. Greene. He’s a braggart and a bore. He’ll tell you he reads 20 climate related articles a day and is the font of all climate knowledge.

He never questions, he only preaches. Humility is a term he doesn’t understand.

Richard Greene
Reply to  HotScot
February 26, 2023 1:41 am

Does this mean you are quitting my fan club?
You sure do understand character attacks and insults, HotSpud.

I asked a simple question about what household energy meant in the UK, and no one answered that question.

… And I read up to 48 short articles every day, not 20. They are listed and recommended on my climate science and energy blog, at the address below, with over 10,000 page views in the first month of operation. Please stay away, HotSpud, I just cleaned up:
Honest Climate Science and Energy

Reply to  Richard Greene
February 25, 2023 12:37 pm

Why would the UK’s energy mix be any different from any other country’s?

Household energy would include natural gas, heating oil, electricity and gasoline or diesel fuel.

You didn’t mention nuclear, solar, wind, tidal, bio fuels, hydro, interconnectors with Europe etc. And if you’re going to claim you only mentioned the major fuels used for household heating, I’m not aware of anyone in a major conurbation that uses gasoline (petrol) or diesel.

Read more Richard, you need it.

Richard Greene
Reply to  HotScot
February 26, 2023 1:45 am

Natural gas, heating oil, electricity, gasoline and/or diesel fuel covers all the energy used by households I know of. I simply wanted to know which bills were going to be subsidized in the UK. I excluded energy from human hot air, as in your household.

Reply to  strativarius
February 25, 2023 12:29 pm

Richard Greene making his usual nonsense posts.

Reply to  HotScot
February 25, 2023 1:03 pm

I just scroll down, or collapse all replies, when I see certain login aliases.

Richard Greene
Reply to  HotScot
February 26, 2023 1:47 am

Followed by HotSpud’s usual insults

Richard Greene
Reply to  Eric Worrall
February 26, 2023 1:50 am

I read the Guardian link and it did not answer my simple question.

The article is about UK energy subsidies

It should have specified which household energy bills will be subsidized.

So far it does not seem like anyone here knows or cares to answer my simple question. So I’ll drop it.

Last edited 3 months ago by Richard Greene
Reply to  Richard Greene
February 26, 2023 3:53 am

It should have specified which household energy bills will be subsidized.

Every UK household has received £400 towards the cost of their energy bills.

There’s no distinction between whether the household is all electric or a mixture of fuels because electricity prices are tied to gas prices.

In addition, from April households on means-tested benefits will receive £900, £300 for pensioner households & £150 for people on certain disability benefits.

There’s also the energy price cap which is a limit on the amount that energy suppliers in the UK can charge for standard variable tariffs

Does that answer your question?

February 25, 2023 7:23 am

It’s all integral to the “PLAN” even if politicians don’t feel like they have a plan. Find something that everyone uses and then make it expensive with direct or indirect taxes, and then subsidize it because it is a “necessity”. Twice the opportunity to establish control. And we know that power over people is the aphrodisiac of politicians, especially unelected bureaucrats. An addiction that is self perpetuating until meltdown.

Lee Riffee
February 25, 2023 7:47 am

Don’t you just love it when governments meddle in certain industries and then they end up making the end product way too expensive for the poor and even lower middle class people to be able to afford… So the product becomes un affordable – well, that’s OK, because we (the gov’t) will confiscate other tax payer’s monies and help pay for those items and services.
This has happened with health insurance here in the US over the last couple of decades. Used to be a person of average means could afford a half decent policy, either thru an employer or on their own. But once the gov’t stepped in and began requiring all kinds of bells and whistles on policies for everyone, prices naturally skyrocketed. But hey, that’s OK, as Obama gave us the “Affordable” Care Act (my parenthesis!). So now, because of all the gov’t red tape, the same policy costs two or even three times as much. And for many people, the gov’t subsidizes the product, which does make it more “affordable”, but what would have been wrong with getting out of the way and letting the free market work to control costs.

That’s generally the way car insurance works in the US. All states require drivers to have an active policy with the bare minimum of liability insurance for injury and damage to other drivers. But that’s it. You can shop around and have tens or maybe dozens of companies to choose from. You can pick and choose what features you want over and above the minimum, if you like. Homeowners/renters insurance works the same way. None of these products are subsidized, and the vast majority of people can afford even the most threadbare plan. But that’s because the gov’t hasn’t put their boot down on the industry and forced rules, regulations and non-optional features that would vastly increase cost.

I swear, I really do think that most everything the government (US and other countries) touch turns to manure. And then, when costs skyrocket, they talk subsidies. Which only put band-aids on gaping wounds….

Scarecrow Repair
Reply to  Lee Riffee
February 25, 2023 9:01 am

Of course that’s what governments do! They are defined by having a monopoly on violence within a territory. Their core competence is violent monopoly. Everything else they do is in service to maintaining that monopoly.

And they aren’t even very good at either the violence or maintaining the monopoly. They are just good enough to remain in power.

February 25, 2023 8:07 am

Unions are not what they used to be. For one thing, members once had calendars, mags and posters adorned with naked women etc and the union… it concerned itself with members’ conditions and pay. 

These days it’s a different ball game. And they are net zero compliant – in thinking at least.

“Climate action has the potential to create over a million good new jobs.3 However, green jobs have not yet materialised on the scale or quality that workers were promised, many green employers are hostile to unions, and there is a lack of sectoral collective bargaining. Green sectors like offshore wind have seen repeated reports of pay below the minimum wage, workers seeking to transfer from high-carbon to green sectors face burdensome obstacles 4 , and the UK has missed out on renewable manufacturing supply chains. This can and must change – delivering a Just Transition and taking working communities with is essential to achieving a zero carbon future.

The TUC is calling for the UK government to set up a public energy champion to invest into new clean power, accelerate decarbonisation, create the high-skilled quality green jobs of the future, and share the benefits of the climate transition with the population.

The brothers are bonkers, no wonder membership isn’t going up.

Last edited 3 months ago by strativarius
Reply to  strativarius
February 26, 2023 3:57 am

Unions brought the UK to its knees before Thatcher. Sadly, they’re trying it again but we don’t have a Thatcher to tackle them.

Walter Sobchak
February 25, 2023 8:11 am

“Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”
Ronald Reagan

Rod Evans
February 25, 2023 8:39 am

How on earth did we get to this?
The UK has a proud history of positive advances that have benefitted the world as much as those advances benefitted the UK.
Now we have an embedded group of hard left unionists demanding we abandon economic sense. To compensate, for this obvious foot shooting initiative, the TUC are demanding the tax payers i.e. their own members, compensate themselves for this act of economic destruction.
Short of the TUC demanding the government bans all union membership, I can’t imagine anything more stupid than this

Reply to  Rod Evans
February 25, 2023 11:54 am

It is quite similar to thermodynamics. There is a large inefficiency in any heat engine; much of the necessary energy going into it cannot produce work. However, the parasites can keep themselves warm and cozy with that spillage.

Reply to  Rod Evans
February 25, 2023 12:52 pm

As my former mother in law used to say about relationships, “when the money runs out, love flies out the window”. She was right, which is why she’s my former mother in law.

The money is running out on the ideological propositions of climate change politics/woke politics/identity politics/sexual politics/kind politics etc. and there is change in the wind.

February 25, 2023 9:57 am

So, they Choose… choose, sometimes Choose, too, to support workers through environmental arbitrage, catastrophic anthropogenic immigration reform (in lieu of emigration reform), and redistributive change schemes (i.e. shared/shifted responsibility) including progressive prices through diversity, equity, and inclusion (e.g. labor arbitrage).

February 25, 2023 10:35 am

The TUC, a case of having your cake and eating it too.

Reply to  Nansar07
February 25, 2023 12:52 pm

Having everyone else’s cake and eating it.

February 25, 2023 11:22 am

Fracking Government!!!!

John Brown
February 25, 2023 1:06 pm

It wouldn’t be so bad if it was just the far left and the TUC who want Net Zero by 2030, guaranteed, well paid jobs, no redundancies and subsidies but it is also Parliament (all parties), the civil service, quangos, the educational establishment, the judiciary (hence the daft court outcomes), the MSM and all our institutions. The only explanation is that all those in control (whoever they are) want to see the UK impoverished and too weak to defend itself.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
February 26, 2023 3:59 am

Too many people in power have stopped believing they have any duty except to themselves.

Hear! Hear!

Chris Hanley
February 25, 2023 1:42 pm

The nation (or nations) that gave the world Bacon Locke Smith Newton et al. when the total population was a fraction of the UK today has regressed to a pre-Enlightenment state of mind where every damaging weather event is punishment for misdeeds and a portend of a coming apocalypse.

Tom Abbott
February 25, 2023 7:03 pm

From the article: “According to the motion passed by the TUC, there is a need for “state intervention, investment and support to protect jobs, incomes, skills and communities.”

State Intervention = More Taxpayer money

No worry, there’s plenty of that around, says the politiician.

Rod Evans
Reply to  Tom Abbott
February 26, 2023 12:22 am

State Intervention = More Taxpayer money”
Before Marx came along, snakes eating their tails was never considered a sensible evolutionary option….

February 26, 2023 7:50 am

Not to worry, we’ll have a Labour government soon and Starmer has promised a green revolution with green jobs for everyone and cheaper sustainable energy. I can hardly wait.
Bags me a job mucking out the unicorn stables, collecting golden eggs from magic geese or riding a flying pig.

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