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UK Government Split Over Rising Cost Of Green Policies

Anyone interested in genuine splits in Government – rather than stage-managed spats – should focus on what happens to green policies.

With the party conferences looming on the horizon, the newspapers are full of spats and splits between the Tories and the Lib Dems.

Much of this is political posturing – a last ditch bid to woo disgruntled party members by showing David Cameron/Nick Clegg [delete as appropriate] is standing up to those nasty Lib Dems/Tories [delete as appropriate].

But one point of tension is certainly not drummed up – climate change is today getting politicians hot under the collar.

The Daily Telegraph has a fascinating leak of a letter to David Cameron from his senior energy advisor, Ben Moxham.

The crux of the note is that families face a 30% increase in their electricity bills because of the Government’s policy on green energy.

But from a political perspective, the killer line is: “We find the scale of household energy consumption savings calculated by DECC to be unconvincing.”

In other words – the PM’s advisor is rubbishing the argument at the centre of Lib Dem Energy Secretary Chris Huhne’s policy drive.

The Department for Energy believes that rising prices will be offset by falling consumption. In other words, families will become more efficient in the way they use energy – because of the Government’s drive on insulation, smart meters etc – and so their bills will fall.

But it seems Downing St is sceptical that this will happen. And this split in opinion is reflected in the parliamentary parties.

Lib Dems generally believe that tackling climate change should be a key priority of the Government.

Conservative MPs tend to think that with rising inflation and a struggling economy, green policies should be way down the Government’s agenda. And, of course, that’s ignoring all the Tory party members who remain unconvinced that climate change is a problem in the first place.

Anyone interested in genuine splits in Government – rather than stage-managed spats – could do worse than focus on what happens to green policies in the future.

Sky News, 5 September 2011