Victoria Derbyshire had a bit of a melt down today, (around 11:00) but what’s new?, when interviewing Ian Peters, managing director of British Gas Residential Energy, dropping all pretence of professionalism, preferring instead to harangue him for having the temerity to put prices up.
When he expressed sympathy and understanding for customers she berated him and told him ‘Don’t do it then!’…later claiming that ‘you don’t care a hoot about your customers…how can you say that!’….despite him explaining in detail exactly what his company does to try and reduce bills for the ‘vulnerable’…saying no one has been cut off in the 4 years he has been in charge.
‘Dividends’ are clearly a problem for Derbyshire….an evil capitalist idea that leeches money out of a company to give to the undeserving rich…like perhaps her retired grandmother whose pension company invests in British Gas and the like and provides capital for investment and growth of the company and expects a return on that investment…to pay out pensions?
Finally Derbyshire suggests this might all be a response to ‘the price freeze proposed by the leader of one political party.’
Does she mean Labour? Why so coy about naming it?
Shelagh Fogarty, a refreshing down to earth change to the shrewish, howling Derbyshire, also tackled the same subject, interviewing Labour’s Caroline Flint.
Unfortunately Fogarty wasn’t well enough briefed to offer more than generalised questions and Flint was able to pump out well rehearsed reams of ‘facts and figures’ which Fogarty couldn’t challenge in any depth. Having said that she then brought on two experts who comprehensively panned Flint’s claims….so some balance there…but it would be nice to see a BBC presenter with the ability to challenge the likes of Flint themselves.
Fogarty , as usual, also had on Martin Lewis, financial expert, who filled in many gaps that the BBC itself studiously avoids (He also did a comprehensive breakdown in a previous programme of the graduate loan scheme….which again seems a mystery to BBC presenters)…like the fact that Miliband’s price freeze is a con…if you want to freeze your price you can, and not just for 20 months but until 2017…and it will still save you money even with a small premium to pay….also there is no termination fee…so you can leave the plan at any time at no cost….these are some of the fixed tariffs from EDF as an example based on a dual fuel package.
Ed Miliband’s latest big idea, the energy price freeze, based on his claim of a ‘living standards crisis’ gets an easy ride on the BBC despite being roundly slated in most other analyses….but a look back in the BBC archives brings up something interesting from Labour’s recent past when in government….a situation that pretty much exactly mirrors today’s……energy prices going up, dividends going up, and demands for price freezes and profit windfall taxes.
The “big six” energy suppliers increased their shareholder dividend payouts by 19% last year, according to new research.
The suppliers paid £1.64bn in dividends in 2007, £257m more than the year before, a study commissioned by the Local Government Association found.
The news comes shortly after Gordon Brown said there would be no one-off fuel payment to help poorer households.
Instead, ministers are likely to focus on new energy-efficiency measures.
The research found that Centrica upped its payout to shareholders to £478m from £409m in 2006 while EDF increased its dividend from £105m to £110m.
Meanwhile, Scottish and Southern Energy’s dividend rose to £474m from £400m and RWE Npower saw a jump from £37m to £250m.
E.ON paid £240m worth of dividends in 2007, after paying nothing in 2006.
The Government has come under increasing pressure from trade unions and Labour backbenchers to help poorer families deal with the rising cost of energy via a one-off tax on the profits of utility companies.
Thus far, Chancellor Alistair Darling has resisted the calls, saying this would make the market less competitive.
But Tony Woodley, joint leader of the two-million strong Unite union, said the government needed to “legislate to cap prices from [those] greedy utilities so that we help the ordinary families in our country”.
The ‘Big Six’ were around then…so where was the competitive market under Labour?
Gordon Brown said there would be no one-off fuel payment to help poorer households…preferring instead to impose energy efficiency measures.
Alistair Darling says such government interventions would make the market less competitive not more as Miliband claims he wants to do.
Also….a price freeze is proposed by none other than Miliband’s own paymaster and puller of strings, the Unite Union.
And now we have that very policy proposed by Ed Miliband…bought and paid for by the Unite Union.
I guess now they have their puppet in place they are pulling the strings and are deciding what Labour’s policies will be.
What is the point of the BBC and its enormous resources if it doesn’t use them to provide its journalists with the information necessary to tear into the lying, posturing, bullying politicians who set out to deceive the public in order to get and hang on to power whilst trying to avoid taking responsibility for taking a decision and its, more often than not, disastrous outcomes.