Two stories from the Telegraph today that have a common theme. The Government have 'negotiated' a plan for energy companies to help certain householders with their fuel bills:
"An extra £225 million will be provided by the six biggest energy firms over the next two years to help those who are struggling to pay, said John Hutton, the Business Secretary.
He estimated that the money could remove up to 100,000 people from fuel poverty - where 10 per cent of household income is spent on heating."
And, Internet service providers might be taxed to support unprofitable programmes:
"Internet service providers could face a new tax to help pay for unprofitable programmes shown on ITV and Channel 4, which may in turn lead to higher broadband charges for consumers.
The levy could be imposed by the Government on the service providers and websites within the next few years, under proposals published yesterday about the future funding of "public service" programmes which make little or no money for commercial broadcasters."
In both cases the private sector is being forced, either directly or through threat of regulation, to tend to Government priorities rather than getting on with its own job of trying to obtain a return for its shareholders by providing for its customers. If the Government hadn't put in place green regulations that constitute 8 per cent of the cost of energy far fewer people would face fuel poverty. Why broadband companies are responsible for current affairs programming on TV is a mystery.
So often politicians fail to deliver quality public services that people would use even if they had a choice. They should stick to their own jobs instead of spending their time hassling businesses in competitive industries that successfully provide the services or products their customers want.