More benefits won’t help; lower prices will

IEA research reported in The Sunday Times

What liberalisations can the current administration promote to bring about similar benefits to the less financially secure? Fortunately a useful route map for the present generation of policy-makers has just been published by the Institute of Economic Affairs — Redefining the Poverty Debate: Why a War on Markets Is No Substitute for a War on Poverty.

Its author, the German economist Kristian Niemietz, points out that in the vital field of energy costs, government is perversely driving prices upwards. The immense subsidies (frequently paid to the richest landowners) for wind power — a form of energy that can cost up to 2Å times the price of conventional gas supplies — is a formula for increased fuel bills for all.

The so-called renewables obligation pre-dates the coalition, but was enthusiastically embraced by David Cameron when he pledged to make this the “greenest government ever”.

Read the full article here (£).