Thursday, July 22, 2010

Green taxation, green sadism?

Individual consumer, Joe Sausage, muddling through this vale of CO2, be warned. If your planet is warming, seas are rising, glaciers turn to soup, entrapping polar kittens etc etc, then it’s all your fault, or your dodgy heater’s, or draughty attic. Take this case spotted by The Times yesterday – with hat doff to @tiredhack. The new caring Tory / LibDem admin is so concerned about “energy wastage” that it is toying with a scheme whereby homebuyers will have to pay “thousands of pounds in tax if the property they are purchasing has insufficient insulation, an old boiler or draughty windows.” The logic behind this is that “ministers are concerned that grants and other incentives for installing insulation are having limited effect and are being ignored by many homeowners.” 

Put on your jumpers, unincentivised homeowners. Cheerfully you have signed up for 30 years of credit slavery in a dodgy economic climate as austerity cutters come scything across the land. Cheerfully, government – in the name of the environment – makes those mortgage shackles just a little heavier about the neck. As The Times notes, owners may be forced to upgrade before houses can go out to market, which could result in “people becoming trapped, unable to sell but unable to afford to upgrade”. The scheme, by the way, comes ahead of the 2012 Green Deal. Would it be safe to predict that any Green Deal will inevitably lead to all sort of Catch 22’s for us reckless fuel-guzzlers? In the green-friendly world being made, the question of vital heat, and electricity, and water – everything which should be cheap – will always be recast as a fault, as original sin, on the part of the individual consumer. And he shall repay.

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