Analysis Breaking News

Govt considers Northern Rock-type bail-out for energy firms – but without the strings attached

Yet again, Tories plan to privatise profits and nationalise losses – and only backbench Labour MPs demand different against backdrop of massive price hikes to public

The Tories are considering huge bail-outs for failing energy companies – as prices to the UK public soar – in a move reminiscent of the enormous bail-out to failing bank Northern Rock.

But while in 2008 Northern Rock was taken into public ownership in return for public funds, Rishi Sunak and Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng appear to be avoiding any such strings attached to the deal – yet so far, Labour leader Keir Starmer has been silent on the issue, with nothing on his social media feed, nor any Google hits for a search for any kind of recent comment on the issue.

Nothing for more than a month from Keir Starmer on energy

In stark contrast, Labour back-benchers such as Jon Trickett are calling for energy – without question a strategic resource – to be brought immediately back into public ownership:

The idea is a popular one, too, with thousands of shares and likes – as it has been since the early days of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour party, along with a host of other left policies to give the public direct ownership of industries that have gouged them on price ever since privatisation.

The strategic nature of energy as a resource is indisputable – and underlined yet again by the fact that the government is already making plans for energy shortfalls and outages this winter, as supply is already under strain even before the cold weather sets in. Andrew Large of the Energy Intensive Users Group said:

It is potentially catastrophic. We’re already seeing plant closures at a time of year when the weather is still warm and domestic heating is low. Fast forward two months and this could be an acute crisis.

If only there was an opposition on the front benches. Instead, Keir Starmer looks set to allow Boris Johnson to funnel more billions of easy public cash into private pockets – or else to u-turn and outflank him on the left yet again by changing tack and imposing direct government control.

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  1. Companies that run out of cash because they have not hedged or bought forward (in an effort to make bigger profits) should be allowed to go bust and if the directors and investors lose loads of cash and have to stand by personal guarantees and personally suffer so be it. Public money should not be used to bail these people out. The government should guarantee Customers can transfer there account and any positive balances to another firm and the tariff (and its remaining duration) should be honoured.
    This has all come about because of the massive subsidies to unreliable renewables (90% of which have gone to foreign companies), cancellation of coal which has driven up demand for gas. It’s a mess.

    1. Oh God more nonsense from our resident Tory. I’m sure you’d be delighted to go home and find you had no gas or electricity. There would be no instant transfer in your market utopia. Instead of socialising losses the government should take failing utilities and transport back into public ownership.

      1. Lundiel I don’t think you managed to read my comment as yours is completely off the points I made. You would have been a great asset in Jeremy’s Treasury and Economic team, possibly as good as Diane in her area of expertise (what is that exactly?). I take it you will be sitting your GCSE’s soon. Good luck.

      2. you are right lundiel the utilities should never have been privatised in the first place. They should be taken back ASP into public ownership along with Railway care services water . There is a place for privatisation but not in any public services. Lets look at Scandinavia with excellent humane public services.. yes high taxes. But you cannot have top class public services and low tax’s We a open honest debate about this.
        There is plenty of scope for private enterprise outside public services..

    2. SIR starmer is AFRAID to upset his one percent mistresses & masters. They r the USER’s ONLY concern.
      Back bench Tories r giving opposition to this and other Tory heartless corrupt policies.
      Starmer is NOT Labour. He is ABUSING Labour assets, label + packaging ONLY to further ENRICH the ONE PERCENT “Filthy Rich” of whom SH’s affectionately called “Mandy” OPENLY said he “has no problem.”

      We must NEVER “unite with” that type / lot / sort. We have diametrically opposite views, aims and policies.
      How can anyone STILL beg us to “work with” those who invented a-S lies❓❓❓
      Lies which made some concerned.
      Lies which INSULTED tragic memories of lives snuffed out…
      What does it say, to ask anyone, especially under thirty fives to “unite with” such 4 a Tory Tribute Act packaged in a Labour wrapper???
      WHAT sort of example is that❓❓❓
      Despite everything now and FIVE plus DECADES of experience, have the hopelessness, victimhood & doom merchants been that successful to blinker old men to only wait for crumbs❓❓❓
      I saw ROLL ON SHARON GRAHAM‼️‼️‼️
      We must END the disgraceful FARCE and DELIVER change at last

    3. You just posted what Kartang said and it’s nonsense. It wouldn’t work for many reasons including data protection, the ability of companies to put up prices at the end of current contract and blackmail the government to cover the cost of transfer and any losses, companies by energy at least a year ahead so wouldn’t have supplies, the list just goes on and on.
      I did answer your comment and whether you agree with climate change proposals or not, continuing with coal is not an option for a number of reasons. So your argument (or Kartang’s) is neither helpful nor practical and will see the consumer pick up the bill.

    4. Nationalisation is not the way forward. (Not for profit is the way forward, but I digress).

      End of the war. German companies were lent money. This meant the companies had incentive to keep going. The money loaned was paid back to the government who in turn gave it back to the yanks. Books balanced and well, Germany is a manufacturing power (for now).

      Here in the UK, we nationalised. The money was used to buy failing companies for good money (cos mates, easy money etc etc). They were eventually ran into the floor, sold for peanuts back to their mates and the rest we all know.

      The utilities should go bankrupt. The leftover then sold for next to nothing (because that’s how it works in the real world for us), and someone else steps in. Given that the government could easily run it on a temporary basis, we probably wouldn’t even notice.

      The real reason for the fuel hikes (and almost everything else) is America. They’ve been printing money like there is no tomorrow for years, but especially so in the last couple. As the world’s reserve currency, this allows them to take whatever they want in the world and pay with their funny money. This translates into inflation for the rest of the world as resources disappear.

      The immediate future is going to be unpleasant, regardless of who gets into #10. So expect more doubling down from all political sides until it all goes pop.

  2. A collective, systematic bypassing of meters would lift the yoke, relieve the pressure on millions of beleaguered citizens and restore some much needed balance to this crooked, government backed, privatised banditry.

  3. Further proof (If it were EVER needed) that keef is utterly invertebrate as well as totally clueless.

    Unfit to wipe his own arse, nevermind anyone else’s. I hope he gets crucified for doing nowt but dawdle while people get shafted time after bleedin’ time.

    Christ, but I loathe that incompetent, moribund fucktard with every fibre of my being.

    1. In fact it’d be fucking superb if the plug were to be pulled just as keef gets up to regale everyone with tales of how he used to prosecute terrorist & criminals (but not nonce plod or toerags) at conference next week.

  4. It’s difficult to get to the bottom of exactly why gas prices are rising astronomically. We are told that it is because of demand, maintenance, shortage of LNG etc.

    As far as I know, it costs no more now than it has in the recent past to actually produce gas from whatever source. It would appear therefore that it is the gas producers who have decided to hike their prices. That’s capitalism for you, taking advantage of their monopoly of the Earth’s resources.

      1. ON another thread I described it as socialism for fat , cats and handouts for privatized monoplys that have thrown money away on strike breaking and the usual sack and rehire scam.Nothing we can do at the moment because its going to take years of a socialist government to sort this out and like we all know we havnt got a Opposition to challenge it or the numbers..With no longer any Opposition party its going to take decades to be in a position to even challenge in a general election and by that time many of us will be pushing up daisys.unless of course it comes from the streets which often happens when as the chief parasite said “They have nowhere else to go” .?,

      2. Yes and when it comes to the public utilities as someone once said:
        “At least Dick Turpin had the courtesy to wear a mask!”

    1. This might shed some light — from Tim Fenton’s latest piece on Zelo Street:

      On 1 January 2021, the UK left the EU’s internal energy market. Energy trading through electricity interconnectors between the EU and Great Britain is no longer managed through existing single market tools, such as EU market coupling, as these are reserved for EU countries.

      Phil Moorehouse also touches on the issue in his latest discussion on YouTube:

    2. Demand for gas has shot up due to curtailment of supply of coal fired energy supplies. More consumers bidding for energy therefore price goes up, supply and demand of which price is a market signal. There is no monopoly of earths resources (oil, gas, nuclear, coal wind, solar hydro). Very basic economics.

      1. Plain Citizen, I’m afraid your understanding of economics is based upon right wing economics i.e. let’s screw the customer for everything we can get. If there was proper competition and not a monopoly or if there was nationalisation of the scarce natural energy resources, prices would not be used in order to blackmail the customer. Energy would be produced and sold at a price commensurate with its production.

    3. Mentioned about prices and rises/shortages above.

      Popping my best bacofoil hat on, if the conspiracy theory that covid is a full is true, lack of gas and food is going to cull many, no?

      My money is on inflation, US REPO shenanigans and 2008. Never really went away, did it?

      1. Also, not helped by the government cutting gas storage to 2% of year’s supply (usual is 10 to 20 times that) and suppliers following suite.

  5. Never fear folks….Once Hinkley C’s finally built we’ll only have to pay three times the market rate for the electricity. But it MIGHT drop by a few pence if Sizewell’s built, too.

    Still subsidising french energy, even though we’re out of the EU… Best put on an extra sweater, eh?

  6. Monday 20 September 2021 / 11:21 AM
    Ed Miliband responds to the energy price crisis

    Ed Miliband MP, Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary, responding to the energy price crisis, said:
    “A basic duty of government is to ensure secure, affordable energy supplies for businesses and consumers. It is a fundamental failure of long-term government planning over the last decade that we are so exposed and vulnerable as a country and it is families and businesses that are paying the price.
    “The Government must take all necessary steps to ensure stability for customers and do everything in its powers to mitigate the effects of this crisis on businesses and consumers.
    “Yet it is making the squeeze on household finances worse by putting up taxes for working people and cutting Universal Credit.”

    1. Ed Moribund isn’t party leader. and hasn’t been for over six years.

      What’s the party leader said?

      1. Toffee “Ed Moribund isn’t party leader. and hasn’t been for over six years.

        but he is Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

      2. I’m afraid that by your own measure that’s not good enough. If Corbyn was responsible for every policy statement/reply then so is Starmer.

      3. The clue’s in the question, soft lad.

        What’s the party leader said? Where’s anything resembling opposition from dear keeef?

        Nowhere. That’s where.

        He’s probly locked himself in a freezer in the hope that the electricity will be switched off so he doesn’t freeze.

    2. Miliband identifies the problem. Anyone can do that. The responsibility of the “opposition” is to step up and offer a solution. Sadly there is no hope of this under the present regime.

    3. Hello Steve H are ye well in yersel lad “and how was the move?Dont suppose you have a few words of wisdom from Hq that actually mentions the victims first have you?I just happened to notice that mr red edd mentioned business first and twice in his first few words..I noticed not one word of the obvious ….Re Nationalise” NOhand outs for private sector monopolies that have turned massive profits into a basket case for the public to bail out.IT seems more of the same only Labour will be much fairer and more transparent about dealing with private sector monopolies….Yes and elephants fly and we have been scrupulous in the handling of millions of members money that went west.???Oh deary me the knights just slipped to second in the corruption scale behind Tom Watson at no1with the knight second at nearly seventy thousand,nandy on twenty five thousand and Raynure a few quid more and suprise,suprise virtualy all the team who invented the AS scam and at the bottom feeders prize a miserly two thousand for jnr Kinnock.who as per usual comes cheap……And the chief go between who else but Trever the Chinn israeli government spook and leadership funder for our bought and paid for knight of the realm…?Are you on gas Steve and could I advise you on any little teething problems that one might experience out in the bundys on your Caribbean bolt hole.?…..septic tank,solar system,recycling of water,and how to deal with dangerous predators and vermin….alway wishing to help regards.

      1. Joseph – Thanks for your concern, although we are connected to the grid for electric and to mains water the only utility bills we have paid for several years now are the meter rentals. We generate more than enough power from solar panels and a wind turbine plus we have our own spring water supply and fresh water storage. If all else fails we have a couple of diesel generators to fall back on. We don’t bother with gas.

      2. lundiel – We don’t live in a village but we do supply electricity to the other 2 houses on our property.

      3. Hahaha…..and yet here you are. Village squire from a ‘small mill town’ up norf, teacher, Carribbean expat, landlord, electricity generator who haunts a small left wing news site obsessively. You funny little man

      4. lundiel – I’m struggling to understand why you are so amused I guess it takes all sorts and each to his own etc, etc.
        I met my wife many years ago whist contracting for the government here and we were lucky enough to be given some family land for our wedding present. We took out a mortgage and over the years we have added 2 luxury properties which have over the years providing local employment and also paid for themselves many, many times over in holiday let income.
        The original house is occupied by our caretaker and his family who has been with us for well over 2 decades whilst one of the 2 new villas that we built will continue to be used to provide an ongoing income from vacation rentals and we obviously live in the other one.
        Why wouldn’t we generate our own clean, green energy when we are more of less guaranteed 12hrs of good sunshine per day. Besides it being socially responsible it also saves us a small fortune. It would be stupid not to.
        We have returned to settle in what was our second home and is now our only home. A home near where my wife was born and raised, a home that we’ve had for decades.
        I don’t really think of myself as an ex-pat. This is our home a place where we have an extensive network of family and friends and a community that we have contributed to and invested in over many years.

      5. You have to pity the wife, though, lundiel. Mind you, she might be even worse!

  7. Off topic — from my inbox this morning:

    Today marks the start of National Eye Health Week, which will run until 26 September 2021…

    Sight is the sense people fear losing the most, yet many don’t know how to effectively look after their eyes. You can help us raise awareness of the need for regular sight tests by encouraging your friends and family to book an eye test with their optician. Most people should have their sight checked every two years, although those living with glaucoma, or another eye disease, may need more frequent appointments.

    Help us spread the word by directing people to and encouraging them to follow us on social media. Throughout the week we’ll be sharing lots of information about how people can look after their eyes, and what to do if you have any concerns.

    1. A tip for the wee fella – Stop masturbating furiously every time keef’s mentioned anywhere, and your eyesight might improve. 👍😉

      1. Toffee that is hilarious….how I needed a good laugh. Cannot get that image out of my mind now. A person in front of a
        picture of Max Headroom, with a giant spliff and an aching right hand….

        Oh dearie me….

  8. Starmer is truly atrocious, isn’t he.

    He doesn’t know how to oppose the Tories because he is one. The blanket upport he gave to the AUKUS pact is equally bizarre and troubling. Below a letter highlighting the huge significance and the debating points an opposition worthy of the title, would be raising:

    The Australian people and the national Parliament have been bypassed and side-lined in today’s massive announcements on defence and nuclear powered submarines.

    That’s according to former diplomat and acting President of Australians for War Powers Reform (AWPR), Dr Alison Broinowski AM.

    “The lack of transparency and accountability in today’s declaration from the Prime Minister is breath-taking.

    “These decisions, which will have far reaching consequences were once again taken by a small group behind closed doors, with no input whatsoever from all our MP’s and Senators.

    “There are already suggestions that the defence budget will need to be doubled to accommodate the plan. And this comes at a time when health, climate and an aging population will be demanding attention and extra funding.”

    In addition to the lack of consultation AWPR has several serious concerns about the new pact. These include:

    • The plan is likely to inflame tensions with China thereby increasing the risk of conflict.

    • Prospective visits by US & UK nuclear-powered vessels to Australian ports for repair and resupply further militarises our region.

    • The pact could far more readily draw Australia directly into any conflict between the US and China over Taiwan.

    • The new pact could have an adverse impact on Australia’s relationship with New Zealand.

    • The plan keeps Australia tied to a world dominated by superpowers and takes us away from a genuinely independent foreign policy.

    • The submarine decision breaks the long held and accepted understanding that Australia is nuclear free. This decision alone requires serious discussion within the parliament and community.

    Dr Alison Broinowski is available for interview.


    Yet here, Labour, Starmer and Nandy, just supported this pact without any objections as if it was nothing big. WE need an opposition, not a rubber stamp shop.

      1. Staggering that the best our opposition here in the UK could do was to simply ‘broadly welcome it’. As Dr Alison Broinowski highlights, it was negotiated in secret with no democratic input whatsoever. We talk about the autocratic CCP, but who voted for this in the west?

        What good can come from it?

      2. “What good can come from it?”
        Billionaires who built hidey-hole shelters in New Zealand will have to find somewhere else.

  9. Like the 1930’s we can see the lines drawn and the ‘appeasers’ (apologists for a totalitarian Chinese fascist regime) forming ranks. I see an independent Trade Union in Hong Kong has been shut down today.

    1. Plain Citizen – The same President Xi Jinping who a then PM Cameron shared a pint with in his local Oxfordshire pub in late 2015? At the time saying he wanted to strengthen UK ties to China?

      Face it , the US has changed its position clicked its fingers, and the UK elite have simply fallen into line.

      The US has over 750 military bases in 80 countries. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army has just ‘one’ support base in Djibouti. In poll after poll ,worldwide, the US is seen, by far, as the most dangerous country on earth.

      The idea the Chinese are a direct threat to us doesn’t make any sense either. And if this is merely about protecting shipping lanes, as stated, why not use real diplomacy rather than resorting to ‘gunboat diplomacy’? This seems to be more about asserting US hegemony than it is about deterrence.

      China and Britain have a long history, in the early 19th century the UK was happily getting the Chinese population hooked on the opium we were selling them. We’re hardly seen as the ‘good guys’.

    2. ‘pro democracy’ union coalition funded by? National Endowment for Democracy (NED). If the Hong Kong Civil Human Rights Front is anything to go by. NED is a CIA front.

      1. The 1930s analogy is also bonkers.

        Right up there with Simon Heffer’s ridiculously offensive claim that Corbyn would seek to “reopen Auschwitz concentration camp” if elected.

  10. Someone posted a great graphic on FB of energy prices in the whole of Europe – average £150 per kw but UK £400 per kw.
    Demonstrates the complete failure of the UK Neo-Liberal Tories privatisation of the public utilities as their priority is pursuing maximum profit.
    John Trickett is bang on, support the Corbyn policy of taking them into democratic public ownership.
    And of course Political Moron Starmer would crap himself at such a prospect.

  11. Funny though China may have a bourgeois top down ‘socialist’ Govt I read half of its companies are 60% foreign owned plus it holds over 1 trillion of the USA’s debt.
    Western capitalist Imperialists attack thy selves!
    China’s problem is that it is rather good at managing capitalism (not the environment) but although it exploits 200m rural workers (New Left Review) diverse working people of no country are our enemy.
    To big up potential enemies boosts the profits of military industrial complexes but perhaps the bourgeois right wing politicians (in the UK – Tories, Lib Dem’s, Right Wing Labour) need to politically grow up – this is the 21st C!
    The world needs need honest brokers (Left Wing Democratic Socialists) in every country like Corbyn (including in the Middle East) but then again that’s perhaps one of the reasons from the perspective of the rich and powerful that Jeremy had to go.

  12. Spot on Bazza…..

    China could kill the dollar in one fell swoop, just by dumping what they hold onto an already saturated market. But of course it benefits the arms industry to constantly paint Russia and China as the enemy. Pretty similar to Hitler’s Germany War Machine being bankrolled by US bankers and initially the Bank Of England.

    We only know a fraction of the truth.

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