Readers' letters: High energy prices built into system

An analysis of energy prices by Tax Research UK reveals that speculation by oil companies and hedge funds in the expectation there will be future shortages is driving the price increases. The cost of producing energy hasn’t changed.

Just 36 per cent of a typical energy bill is made of up the cost of producing the energy. The rest is distribution, billing and customer service, green levies, VAT and profit.

The first three are fixed costs, meaning they don’t change. What’s increasing is VAT and distribution and energy production company profits. What this means for the average consumer is that they will be paying 2.5 times more in VAT to the government and 40 times more to the energy company.

So, of the estimated UK energy price increase of £38 billion, the government will get £1.9 billion, energy distribution companies £760 million and generation companies £35.34 billion.

You’ll hear the excuse for these extraordinary increases being Brexit, Ukraine or Covid. But you won’t hear the real reason - profiteering on an obscene scale.

And the UK Government, rather than try to alleviate the looming pain and increase in poverty by reducing VAT and imposing a windfall profits tax, is increasing taxes, interest rates and introducing more austerity.

And here’s a question Scots should ask. When we get 98 per cent of our electricity from cheaper renewables, why should we have to pay these punitive prices? It’s because of a Union that has relentlessly exploited us. It’s why we must get out now.

Leah Gunn Barrett, Edimnburgh.

Move away from oil and gas is a slow one

Pol Yates says "We must take climate change seriously" and says we must move swiftly from oil and gas, (Letters, 12 March).

To what? We will still need gas fired generators for when the wind doesn't blow and the sun doesn't shine.

On average over the last 12 months unreliable wind supplied only 19.8 per cent of our electricity whereas reliable gas supplied 39 per cent.

We will continue to need gas for decades, so it is sheer hypocrisy to curb UK oil and gas production yet to import it.

The UK is responsible for only 1.13 per cent of global emissions. China, India, Russian, Japan and many other countries, responsible for over 60 per cent, are already breaking the promises they made at COP26 by building even more coal-fired electricity plants.

Russia and China are to build a gas pipeline carrying gas to China yet Ms Yates thinks that wind turbines will save the planet.

She might be better telling President Putin to stop his greenhouse gas- creating war in Ukraine.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow.

Nicola should follow the science on Covid

Scientists are familiar with the concept of a control experiment, where conditions are imposed on one group and not another.

This is exactly what we've had for the last two months with Covid restrictions lifted in England and kept in Scotland.

The result? Covid cases are rising across the UK and currently Scotland is worse off than England. Despite the evidence the Scottish Government have decided to keep measures in place which do nothing.

If this is on the advice of scientific advisors, then they are bad scientists and need to be sacked. If Nicola Sturgeon isn't following the science because she can't admit the measures were retained just to be different from England, then the scientists need to speak out and put her in her place.

Dr SJ Clark, Edinburgh.

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