Friday, August 08, 2008

Brown's Foot Is Off The Gas

The gas companies pathetic excuses for obscene price-hikes is exposed once again, in a damning indictment by the head of a new consumer watchdog. It's a rip-off in light-touch, soft-touch Britain.

Ed Mayo, head of a new National Consumer Council, tells us nothing new. Foreign-owned gas companies are raising prices in the UK to subsidise customers in other countries. 

Unlike in the rest of Europe, these global foreign-owned energy companies know they can milk the UK consumer for all they're worth, without fear of EU or government intervention. 

It was Blair and Brown's New Labour which created the 'open market' and allowed these global corporations to flourish and put profits before people, in the first place. 

The big six energy suppliers - EDF, NPower, British Gas, E.On. Scottish Power, Scottish and Southern Energy - all have nice sounding, customer friendly names but they're owned by foreign companies and global investment banks. 

EDF by the French, RWE Power and E.on of Germany and Scottish Power by Iberdrola of Spain. 

Gas is traded by sharp operators on the international markets months in advance and stored in huge facilities on the continent. They know how to play the markets for big profits and the UK consumer is a soft-touch. 

They need to make huge profits for their directors and shareholders. They can't hike up prices back home in their in their own countries, so they make the UK consumer pay through the nose. 

MPs on watchdog committees and the industry watchdogs have warned about this before. And it has been highlighted here on a number of occasions. 

Selling off the gas and electricity industries was an idea of the Thatcher years.

But New Labour, Blair and Brown took it forward with so much enthusiasm and stealth and allowed these private UK companies to be sold off to foreign companies. 

We don't own the energy supply industry anymore - so the government keeps the whole thing at arms length and does nothing about it.

It's all part of a deeper malaise created by New Labour's 'light touch' and the spin and hype over a 'strong' economy. 

John Kampfer explores how the City was allowed to become the global capital of 'crooks and spivs' in today's Daily Telegraph

This light-touch has created a soft-touch Britain. This has left the fat cats in the City getting richer and the poor getting poorer.

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