Simon Read: Clegg's plan to make us pay to help the needy is lacking detail

 

What's the Government's latest solution to the growing energy crisis? You know, the shameful fact that millions of people can't afford to adequately heat their homes because of soaring gas and electricity bills? Little Nick Clegg announced it proudly on Wednesday, throwing around big figures to prove the Coalition's commitment to helping the poorest.

At least £1.3bn will be provided every year to support energy efficiency, the Deputy Prime Minister proudly pronounced. And, even better, at least £540m will be used to fund energy-saving improvements in the worst-off homes.

Clegg says that cash will help 180,000 poor households. That means each home will benefit from £3,000-worth of home improvements. That's not too shabby a deal. Until you realise that the actual cost of that will be paid by us.

The Government's new Green Deal obliges energy companies to pay for the home improvements but allows them to claim the cash back through all our bills. By my calculations, helping 180,000 hard-up households will add around £25 to all our bills.

Personally I don't mind that, as long as the cash does get to the right people. But the figures prepared by Clegg's PR folk are a little woolly. The 180,000 homes he refers to are, presumably, those in extreme difficulty. But how is he proposing to identify them?

And what about those on the edge: families which won't qualify for the help, yet are effectively in fuel poverty? As Clegg proposes spending our cash, we need more details of where it's going and more real solutions to help the millions facing fuel poverty.

Some worried former clients of stockbroker Pritchard contacted me this week. It was closed down in February by the Financial Services Authority amid accusations of fund misappropriation. Shares owned by investors who used the firm were then transferred to a rival stockbroker, WH Ireland, while, at the beginning of March, administrators from the accountancy firm Mazars were brought in to sort out what remained of the cash assets.

The process has been one of the first to be brought under the new special administration regime, which was introduced last year as a result of the Lehman Brothers collapse. The Treasury introduced the new measures for investment firms "to ensure there is minimum disruption to financial markets as a result of their failure".

But what about the victims? They have already been forced to wait almost two months, and it won't be until May that the administrators will report. And then begins the potentially long process of claiming through the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

The whole system falls down if innocent victims are forced to wait months for their cash. That can make them victims all over again. The Treasury must revisit this process and put investors at the heart of it, not financial markets.

s.read@independent.co.uk

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

Property
pets
Arts and Entertainment
tvGame of Thrones season 5 ep 4, review - WARNING: contains major spoiliers!
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Sport
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
News
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Sport
football
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’
tvThe Enfield Haunting, TV review
News
news
News
The Mattehorn stands reflected in Leisee lake near Sunnegga station on June 30, 2013 near Zermatt, Switzerland
news
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

    £16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior SEO Executive

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior SEO Executive is requi...

    Recruitment Genius: Online Customer Service Administrator

    £16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Online customer Service Admi...

    Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Executive

    £18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This global, industry leading, ...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living