Brian Parkin

Hot air on energy prices

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Since April 2008 working class living standards in Britain have fallen by an average 13.2 percent. Over the same period domestic energy prices have risen by over 38 percent, while profits of the major UK energy companies have risen to levels only exceeded by the banks.

The official classification of fuel poverty is a household that has to spend at least 10 percent of its income on energy bills. Over 5.5 million households are already in fuel poverty, over half of them either having to make special provisions for winter quarter bill payments or living in fear of disconnection.

Yet in May, when the current Energy Bill was launched, the government cynically calculated that the effect of its new legislation would immediately push a further 400,000 households into fuel poverty through its effect on fuel prices.

Nuclear power failure

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Since its inception, critics of nuclear power have concentrated on the industry's lamentable safety record, its growing and deadly radiological legacy for future generations and its links to military development and maintenance of nuclear weapons.

But the fraud at the heart of the economic case for nuclear power has received less attention. The murky world of nuclear economics reveals how an inherently unreliable and unsafe range of military-born technologies have been sold to the public on the basis of ideologically driven fantasies of strategic energy security and creative accountancy. From the start there has never been any intention to take account in any nuclear energy programme of the calculation, let alone funding, of the long-term decommissioning and waste management costs.

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