Comparative Disadvantage

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

I read that the government's Department of Zero Energy and No Security [DOZENS] is thinking about slapping UK import taxes on Chinese battery EVs.  It seems that they are thought to be far too cheap because of subsidies.  Fresh from checking the costs of Turkish-produced ironing boards (I'm not making this up), the Trade Remedies Authority [ TRA ] – it authorises trade remedies – will investigate.  If import taxes are agreed, the government will have two policies relating to battery EVs: [i] trying to get a sceptical public to buy them; and [ii] making them more expensive to buy.  You don't need fancy degrees in economics to see that there's a problem here.

Have you read about the 17 universal actions that are set out in the Welsh Government's proposals for farmer support to replace (at long last) the EU's CAP.  It’s an impressive list, and I can see why civil servants, their advisors and NGO activists are keen.  It looks time-consuming to comply with, and the scope for having to spend money on consultants seems huge.  What seems clear is that if you are well off and have a lot of white collar employees, you will have a better chance of being able to get your cash than if you aren't / haven’t.  Small farmers beware of bureaucrats bearing governments gifts.

I see that John Kerry is stepping down as the USA's climate envoy which means that he'll no longer be jetting round the world telling governments not to drill for oil or gas.  Much better, after all, to import it all from the US where the government never took a blind bit of notice of what he was saying and is still drilling and exploring whilst telling people it's going green.

Closer to home, I read that Ofgem is worried that many Britons will struggle to pay future energy bills.  Many do now, of course.  The regulator has issued a “call for input”, asking for the views of consumers and the energy sector on affordability and debt in the energy market. The consultation will be open until May 13.  I'm going to respond by saying that all the many green taxes currently levied on electricity bills should be moved to general taxation on the grounds that [i] this is much less regressive, and [ii] the taxes are building national infrastructure.  It will fall on deaf ears, I fear as, if the government has a clear policy, it is to lower taxes whilst adding to changes by stealth.

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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