There’s No Insulating Against Stupidity

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From our Swindon Correspondent:

From The BBC

 

Hundreds of thousands of homeowners will receive vouchers of up to £5,000 for energy-saving home improvements, with the poorest getting up to £10,000.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is due to set out a £2bn grant scheme in England for projects such as insulation as part of a wider £3bn plan to cut emissions.

We’ve covered this in some detail on CT before , but in a nutshell, we’ve done all the good insuring that gets us a lot of emissions reductions for the money. I’m still not sure if they add up, in terms of Lord Stern’s figures, but not a bad idea.
The Treasury said the grants could help to support more than 100,000 jobs.
So would giving spoons to the people digging trenches for HS2, as Milton Friedman might say. Jobs are a cost. We only want them so we can get useful things done. That money has to come from somewhere. £2bn on home improvements is £30 each. That’s me not buying a new shirt, a couple having lunch out or some bloke buying a lap dance. All of those are “the economy”. And if you put the money into insulation, that’s money not going to single mothers to shake their booty.

Under the Green Homes Grant, the government will pay at least two-thirds of the cost of home improvements that save energy, the Treasury said.

For example, a homeowner of a semi-detached or end-of-terrace house could install cavity wall and floor insulation for about £4,000 – the homeowner would pay £1,320 while the government would contribute £2,680.

So, these are the expensive insulation projects, the ones not worth doing.
Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Business Secretary Alok Sharma added that the poorest households could receive up to £10,000 towards costs, and that double glazing would also be covered by the scheme.
He continued: “What [the scheme] ultimately means is lower bills for households, hundreds of pounds off energy bills every year, it’s supporting jobs and is very good news for the environment.”
You can make savings of that sort of number with cavity wall and loft insulation, but we’ve pretty much done those. Installing double glazing doesn’t save hundreds of pounds per year. The government’s own figures show no more than £155 . They also show that only 7% of homes have no double glazing. We’ve had this for decades now, so many houses have already had it done. What’s left is likely to mostly be listed buildings and people who just prefer wood.
This is wasteful New Deal thinking that is bad for recovery and bad for people. We want spending that improves people’s lives and this doesn’t. it helps a few double glazing companies get richer at the cost of other industries and the consumer.

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Leo Savantt
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Leo Savantt

There’s a much better way to help poorer people, or indeed richer ones, with energy bills, it is also much cheaper to administer than this stupid proposal. Simply abolish the extraordinarily mean-spirited 25% tax on domestic electricity. Taxing people exorbitantly to cook, light and heat their homes is not only profoundly immoral, it also damages the environment, the domestic environment of the user.

Boganboy
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Boganboy

I’d abolish the subsidies for and the compulsory purchase of wind power.

One could also abolish the rules against fracking. Since the UK and the North Sea have plenty of coal, underground coal gasification could provide Britain with plenty of power for the next 500 years or so.

Leo Savantt
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Leo Savantt

The moratorium on fracking, whilst politically expedient in the run up to the last general election, is economically and environmentally insane.

Michael van der Riet
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Michael van der Riet

I think that it’s fairly well established now that Boris is insane. Apart from fracking there’s the NI bridge, HS2, the ultra-hard lockdown and the electric airliner. Down here at the southern tip of Africa we know that eccentricity is highly prized among our UK common-wealthers, but…

Michael van der Riet
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Michael van der Riet

The old “jobs are a cost” fallacy AGAIN. Ad absurdum, the ideal economy has no jobs whatsoever.

A hypothetical economy creates wealth by doing productive stuff. How do we spread the wealth around? Through the mechanism known as “jobs.”

jgh
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jgh

It’s not a fallacy, jobs *are* a cost, as plainly demonstrated by the fact that you have to pay money to obtain them. That doesn’t mean they are an unneccessary cost.

Bloke on M4
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Bloke on M4

The only reason that people think this is decades of media brainwashing. Government announces how many jobs a thing will create and no-one questions it. Not the opposition, not the media. But it’s logical. When you get your car serviced or buy a coffee, you hand over money. And what works at the atomic level applies at the global level. Your garage man is a cost to you, as is the government employing people. And as I’ve tried to explain, this money comes from elsewhere. Same thing applies at atomic level or national. If you buy a case of nice… Read more »

Spike
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Spike

Ten ditch-diggers move a ton of land in some amount of time. One backhoe with one operator moves it faster. A process requiring ten workers is replaced by a process requiring one worker, plus an infusion of CAPITAL to buy the power tool. The resulting process is better, and the nine displaced workers move on to find jobs that actually need doing. In comes a Marxist who claims the capitalist has stolen money the workers would have made, continuing to do the work INEFFICIENTLY.

John B
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John B

Create more jobs in construction, take away shovels and replace them with teaspoons. (Milton Friedman, I think.)

Quentin Vole
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Quentin Vole

Or Hazlitt (1946):
“Why should freight be carried from New York to Chicago by railroads when we could employ enormously more men, for example, to carry it all on their backs?”

John B
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John B

Voluntary exchange creates wealth, not ‘doing productive stuff’. Produce as much stuff as you like, but if nobody buys it you have nothing except the expense of producing the stuff… and a lot of stuff. An economy is a market place where buyers and sellers meet to make that exchange and in so doing wealth is spread. Much of what we consume is produced without the jobs previously needed. Telephone calls for example no longer provide thousands of jobs for people connecting calls, a machine does it which is why telephone calls cost dust and not £1 a minute. It… Read more »

Anon
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Anon

Does this “Installing double glazing doesn’t save hundreds of pounds per year. The government’s own figures show no more than £155 .” mean that double glazing is not worth it?

Spike
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Spike

Like buying an electric car, “it makes sense when you figure in the tax breaks.” That means it doesn’t make sense. We do things that don’t make sense when gov’t acts to make prices wrong. (Likewise the carbon credit.)

Anon
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Anon

Although surely double glazing started before tax breaks? I would assume it was because of good salesmen. (Fortunately the previous owners of my home paid for double glazing).

MrYan
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MrYan

UPVC makes sense from a maintenance (if not aesthetic perspective). The double glazed units are less useful but are now mandated by building regulations.

John B
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John B

And when the tax lost on motor fuels is transferred to electric cars either as a consumption tax via chargers and/or road fund duty, and/or road pricing and/or tax on car purchase… not so good a deal then. Apart from you can’t get far of course.

Bloke on M4
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Bloke on M4

Double glazing is worth it *at the time you have to replace the windows anyway*. So, your old wood window is knackered, you need a new window. You’re going to incur a large cost whether you go wood or uPVC including fitting. At that point, the cost is uPVC – wood. And it’s worth it. But doing it prematurely isn’t. It’s like most “eco” tech. Buying a leaner car isn’t worth it until you want a new car. If you do 10,000 miles a year, that’s 300 gallons or around £1500 in fuel. Change that to a car doing 50mph… Read more »

John B
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John B

Thick curtains would be cheaper and just as effective.

Quentin Vole
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Quentin Vole

You can get double (or triple) glazing in wood frames (or in metal ones from Critall). Typically costs more than uPVC.

Tim the Coder
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Tim the Coder

How big is the grant available to strip out the sodden cavity wall insulation, incompetently installed by the previous Government initiative?
Solid insulation in a cavity – with cavity retained – makes sense in a new-build external wall.
But installing water-absorbent stuffing in existing walls is sabotage.
Cowboy does a runner, Government wot instituted the scheme doesnt want to know.

Modern version of job creation by digging holes and filling them in: ruining cavity walls then repairing them, then ruin again.

Paul Robinson
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Paul Robinson

I live in France. The French have a similar scheme operating for a while. The most tangible result has been a deluge of cold calls from dubious bods trying to survey your house to Flog dodgy solutions, Warnings abound about potential anarques ( scams/cons). I have a modern recently built house with ‘A’ rated insulation- explained this hundreds of times yet still they call 10 times a day… Will probably boost foreign call centres a bit