Daily Mail confused over whether 'green tax' cost is £85 or £300 as Mail on Sunday uses GWPF £200 figure despite PCC ruling
- 19 Sep 2011, 18:14
- Christian Hunt
interest in the right wing press about the impact of 'green'
measures to consumers started
back in June when a Daily Mail front page - sourced to the
climate skeptic think-tank the Global Warming Policy Foundation -
claimed that 'green stealth taxes' were adding £200 to household
If you've been following the blog, you'll know that following a
PCC complaint we made about this article, the Daily Mail issued a correction earlier
this month, recognising that Ofgem's figures show that green energy
measures are adding "no more than 9%" to energy bills - about
So we were somewhat surprised to note that yesterday's Mail on
Sunday reused the £200 figure - apparently the one that had been
the subject of our PCC complaint - just a week and a half after the
correction was published in the Daily Mail.
In an article printed in hard
copy and online the Mail on Sunday said:
"Utility price rises have pushed the
average household energy bill to almost £1,300 a year, partly
driven - as critics pointed out yesterday - by 'green' taxes
imposed by Mr Huhne's department.
The stealth levies, introduced to fund Britain's investment in
wind and solar power, are costing families an average of £200 a
year - two-thirds of the amount the Cabinet Minister said they
should be able to save. This represents an increase of between 15
and 20 per cent on the average domestic power bill."
The Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday are of course separate
papers (who use the same website), so maybe they just don't talk to
each other that much. Or perhaps they do - sometime in the late
afternoon yesterday the
article was amended and all references to green energy bills
removed, although by then the damage had been done, as the article
obviously appeared uncorrected in the print edition. The Mail on
Sunday's use of the incorrect figure might be explained by the fact
that the Daily Mail have still not yet altered their
previous articles citing the figure online, despite agreeing to
do so in their correspondence with us and the PCC.
Instead they have moved on to further muddying the waters around
the issue. In a slightly confusing twist, today's paper cites two
contradictory estimates of how much environmental costs are adding
to our bills as fact. In an editorial, the Mail
claim that green energy measures are adding £300 to
"First, the millionaire Cabinet minister
Chris Huhne blames the public for the crippling size of energy
bills - arguing people could save £300 each if they weren't too
lazy to switch supplier.
He conveniently forgets that £300 is the exact sum added to gas
and electric bills by 'green taxes' and subsidies ..."
No reference is provided, but this figure is (presumably)
sourced to the Telegraph's recent
front-page headline quoting a leaked government briefing. The
briefing contained a sentence which implied that environmental
measures would add 30% to energy bills - about £300.
However, the Telegraph noted this referred to bills in 2020, not
now, and it subsequently turned out that the £300 figure resulted
from confusing energy and electricity bills, as we detailed here.
have corrected their reporting of this story - but not the
Telegraph, and now the Mail are repeating the mistake, amplifying
it slightly by suggesting that the figure refers to energy bills
now, rather than in eight year's time.
To further compound the strong sense of confusion which contact
with the Mail's views on energy policy now gives rise to, a few
pages later (in a piece which is trailed alongside the editorial),
there's an article about planning disputes over wind farms
"On average, householders pay an extra
£85 per year in 'green' taxes, and the wind farm levy - part of the
Feed-in Tariffs scheme introduced by the Labour Government in 2009
in a drive to encourage 'green' energy - accounts for about £9.50
This figure comes from Ofgem's estimate that green energy
measures add approximately 8%, or "not more than 9%" to household
energy bills - the figure
accepted by the Mail as part of the PCC process we've just been
We'd applaud the Mail for using a figure which is substantiated,
current, which refers to now rather than 2020, and which hasn't
been shown to be the result of a basic mistake - if they hadn't
managed to contradict it ten pages earlier in the same edition of
UPDATE 21st September: The Daily Mail's editorial has
reused the £300 figure in a comment piece - so it looks
as though it wasn't just a slip of the pen....