£123 billion decarbonising costs
The GMB has said that when the full costs of decarbonising the economy are laid out for all to see, paying for them out of general taxation is actually the fairer way to proceed.
The GMB, who is the union for workers in the energy sector, is calling on the UK government to commit itself to complete transparency, value for money and equity on all of the costs associated with decarbonising the economy and to commission a review of the cost effectiveness and fairness of the policies being looked into, which will include whether the costs are to be paid for from general taxation rather than levies on consumer bills.
The call for transparency comes after the GMB researchers were unable to establish how much the full costs arising from the implementation of the Climate Change Act 2008 are. The GMB was able to establish that if the £6.76 billion cost identified in 2015 by the Committee on Climate Change, an independent statutory body, was to recur until 2030, then the total cost would be £123.6 billion.
However GMB has been unable to put figures to the other items which will increase the overall cost, including carbon taxes, emissions permits, capacity auction costs, renewable levies or any indirect costs associated with decarbonising the economy. GMB researchers have concluded that the figure is likely to be much higher than the £123.6 billion identified.
The GMB National Secretary for the Energy Sector, Justin Bowden, said:
“Every single household in Britain has an energy bill to pay and for very many people it already represents a significant part of their monthly spend.
“Loading the costs of decarbonising the economy onto individual bill payers is highly regressive and will hit those who can least afford it the hardest; we are talking thousands of pounds extra on the bills of every house in Britain over the coming decade and a half.
“Given the eye-watering amounts of cash involved, UK energy bill payers have a right to demand complete transparency over all aspects of the decarbonising costs arising out of the 2008 Climate Change Act. It must also be established whether or not the costs represent value for money, efficacy and, above all, if they are going to rack up even further as seems likely.
“It may well be that when the full costs of decarbonising the economy are laid bare, paying for them out of general taxation is actually the fairer way to proceed."