WaGCG : Wantage and Grove Campaign Group
Wantage and Grove Campaign Group (WaGCG)

Column 31st August 2022

Consumer warmth and security versus political donations?

I was talking to some refugees recently.

They couldn’t understand why we don’t have enough comfortable, genuinely affordable, warm and secure homes when we are such a wealthy country.

All of the Governments since Margaret Thatcher have left the housing markets in the hands of private industry allowing them to build small, low value, poorly insulated homes which progressive governments have encouraged us to buy.

Part of the excessive profits from developers has been donated back to political parties to encourage them to leave the industry to manage itself.

In a similar way energy companies like BP, Shell and Centrica have all reported massive profits amid the soaring cost of oil and gas.

BP reported profits of £6.9 billion for the three months to June 2022 – this is triple the amount it reported for the same period last year.

Shell also has increased quarterly earnings to $11.5 billion, from $5.5 billion a year ago.

The largest of the ‘Big Six’ utility companies, British Gas is owned by Centrica and currently look after a quarter of all retail UK customers.

British Gas’s retail supply profits were down 48% in the six months to June to £98 million but Centrica's adjusted operating profit for the same period rose to £1.34 billion pounds, up from £262 million a year earlier.

Last week Centrica said that it would donate £12 million every six months into a support fund providing grants of £250 to £750 to poorer customers for the duration of the energy crisis.

How much do they donate to political parties to encourage them to leave them alone?

The energy price cap will increase to £3,549 per year for dual fuel for an average household from October.   

One commentator suggested that many of us could be paying more for energy than we do for our mortgages or rental payments.

This is scary - particularly as many of our homes are badly insulated and much of the reason why we use so much energy.

A home is a human right (article 25 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights) and the United Nations interpret this as the right to live somewhere in security, peace and dignity.

Perhaps profits from energy companies and developers should be used to provide us all with the dignity to be warm and secure this winter.

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