Sunday, 19 June 2011

'Huddersfield Conservative' attacks the Green Party

Syringa . The flower which gives it's name to the street where I used live with 'Huddersfield Conservative'  Bernard McGuin
Here's a string of letters from Bernard McGuin (Huddersfield Conservative) and responses from me in The Examiner. Funnily enough I used to live next door but one to him about twenty odd years ago in Syringa Street, Marsh. Since then he's found politics and  stood for the Conservatives in Newsome in 2010 and was their campaign organiser in 2011. The usual target for Mr McGuin was the Labour Councillors for where he lives in Marsh and Mehboob Khan in particular. More recently he's taken a dislike to the Green Party and he tends to write fairly ill informed letters in the Huddersfield Examiner which tend to demonstrate his prejudices rather than any real knowledge about the issues he raises. It's a pity really that he does this but  it does give me an opportunity to put the record straight. Here for your entertainment is the latest string of letters.

Cost of ‘green’ policies

THE true cost of renewable means of producing power are now being exposed.

As I have said in the past, the power companies pay four times the value of any electricity produced by wind and solar means. The cost is passed on to the consumer in hidden subsidies. It is effectively an extra tax on already heavily burdened ordinary hard working individuals.

The fact that energy prices themselves are screaming ahead of inflation means that effectively we are putting a brake on economic growth and ultimately economic recovery.#

To all those people who voted Green in the last local elections, the message should be, do you really support policies that harm the British economy?

To the coalition government I would ask – do we really have to follow every edict from Europe on cutting carbon emissions and do you think all our competitors put so-called climate change policies ahead of economic growth?

Bernard McGuin

Huddersfield Conservative

Blaming the wrong folk

A RATHER bizarre letter from Conservative Bernard McGuin blames the Green Party for taxes on energy bills.Last time I checked it was the Conservatives who were running the country with their Lib Dem helpers, not the Green Party.

He says these taxes support renewable energy. Yes they do – but nuclear energy is very heavily subsidised too.

It is also worth noting that half of the £20m budget for Kirklees Warm Zones free insulation scheme came from these sources, which is saving energy and money for Kirklees householders to the tune of about £4m each year.Mr McGuin would be quite correct in blaming the Green Party for the free insulation scheme which was the result of an amendment we made to the Kirklees Budget in 2007.

Clr Andrew Cooper

Leader, Green Party, Kirklees Council

Energy subsidies

IN REPLY to the Clr Andrew Cooper, (Mailbag, June 17) who thinks I wrote a bizarre letter regarding renewable forms of energy, may I just remind him that on his website that he acknowledged that the Feed In Tariffs, that rewards producers of such energy with a 41p per unit payment as opposed to the market price of 11p per unit, is a form of indirect taxation?

I was careful in my letter to say that it was a subsidy which was being paid by us in our electricity bills.
On average we are each paying £200 plus a year to pay for this and other forms of  ‘green taxes’ in our annual expenditure on energy.

The coalition has been saddled with the last government’s zeal to expand wind and solar power.
Those that can afford the cost of solar panelling, the comparatively rich, will make a good return on their investment, around 10-12%. Paid by us poor folk who can’t afford it.

If you want to rent out your roof for solar panels, beware! You must have room for 16 panels and those in terraced housing, most of us in Huddersfield, won’t qualify.

Although insulating one’s house is a good thing, the cost is again taken by the taxpayer.The warming Kirklees scheme was undertaken by a Conservative administration. I have heard all four political groups take credit for this scheme. Of course it is possible the three green councillors outvoted the other 66.

The main thrust of my letter was to ask whether the ‘taxing’ of energy would put a brake on economic growth. It is only that which will get us out of the debt that the country faces. In the General Election 2010, there was a move towards a rejection of tax and spend policies. Do the people who voted for Green councillors in Newsome and Kirkburton want a return to that?

Bernard McGuin

Huddersfield Conservative

Response to Bernard McGuin

Conservative Bernard McGuin states the impact on energy bills of policies to tackle fuel poverty and reduce carbon emissions (or ‘green taxes’ as he puts it) is £200. The figure he gives is one from a right wing newspaper parroting a dubious report from a right wing policy group. The actual figure given by the Department of Energy Climate Change on behalf of the right wing Conservative Government is £42 per year. I can direct Mr McGuin to the appropriate part of his government’s website if he wants.

He says the coalition has been ‘saddled with the last government’s zeal to expand wind and solar power’. Actually there was consensus among the Westminister parties about the need for a feed in tariff for renewable energy before the General Election. If he can show me anything at all which contradicts my view I’d be interested to see it.

Mr McGuin also attempts to take credit away from the Greens for gaining free insulation for households in Kirklees through the Warm Zone scheme. The Green Party amendment to the 2007 Council budget which made the scheme free is a matter of public record. The emails I have between myself and the then Conservative leader and the official notes of discussions of meetings on the budget further confirm free insulation as a Green Party initiative. I’m more than happy to show Mr McGuin the evidence.

He asks whether the  taxing of energy would ‘put a brake on economic growth’. As much of the money goes towards schemes that help reduce peoples fuel bills and projects which create employment and economic activity that is highly unlikely.

It is easy for Mr McGuin to  write letters to the paper repeating misinformation he may have read in the national tabloids but he would do better to direct his concerns regarding fuel prices to the government which is lead by the Conservative Party, which for reasons best known to himself, he supports.

Councillor Andrew Cooper

Leader of the Green Party group


  1. b.mcguin@ntlworld.com25 June 2011 at 19:07

    I did ask Jason McCartney what the hell the party were playing at and, he said, there was no realisation of the huge costs involved. They have stopped the big schemes that drain the money. There is a problem with the amount of businesses that were drawn to these FIT's. It would be hard to pull the rug from underneath them now. I say go ahead and pull. The only real sufferers will be the Chinese and solar panel energy advisors.

  2. The costs for FIT on bills is negligible according to DECC (your government). Certainly not the £200 you mention. There are UK solar manufacturers such as Romag and Sharp. The big schemes weren't draining the money. Its just part of the usual coalition appreciate costs but not values. Our Solar PV industry is 0.3% of the size of the German PV industry so we're hardly going crazy. The Conservatives were fully aware of the feed in tariff before the election and Greg Barker was very much signed up to it. I know I was involved in the campaign to get the FIT in place. The other people who will suffer are the thousands of council tenants on low incomes who could get over a hundred pounds off their electricity bills each year. I don't know what your specialism is but I would tread carefully before expressing opinions about things which I really don't know much about and you do. This sounds like some stuff you've read in the Daily Mail as opposed to actual facts.