2022 has proved to be a hard year for ordinary families. With food and energy prices skyrocketing, we've all had to tighten our belts. With the recent announcement of an "energy price cap" the UK
government wants to at least look like it's doing something to address the crisis.
Meanwhile here in Wales, in a recent article, Welsh Social Justice Minister Jane Hutt stated that nearly half of Welsh households would be pushed into fuel poverty because of the cost-of-living crisis this year. She announced a meagre £4 million extra to support households in need.
All very laudable, but crumbs off the table compared to the massive profits that energy companies are making off the back of Wales due to the incompetence and complicity of the UK Government, in hock to the energy super-majors.
YesCymru has long pointed out that Wales is a net exporter of electricity to the rest of the UK. In fact, one power station in Pembrokeshire - Pembroke power station, has an output of over 2000 Megawatts - enough power for 4 million homes, over twice the number of households in Wales.
So, it's not hard to see where all that extra juice is going.
Yet this April, Welsh homes were hammered by some of the highest rises in Standing Charges of any "region" of the UK - 94% in the south and 104% in the north. London saw much more modest increases of 38%.
And it's not just electricity either. Wales brings in and pipes vast quantities of natural gas across our territory through two massive LNG Terminals at Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire. South Hook and Dragon LNG.
Curiously, a year after these Terminals opened in 2010, the incoming Conservative government abolished VAT chargeable on gas landed at Milford Haven. That VAT income happens to be a lot of
For South Hook and Dragon LNG are currently importing huge volumes of gas at massively inflated prices, which means that based on UK government figures, something like £1.5 billion of lost tax
revenue will pass through Pembrokeshire this year.
To put that figure into perspective, the deficit of Hywel Dda Health Board, currently in the process of down-grading Withybush hospital, is a measly £42 million.
And it’s not hard to see where all that money is really going. Last year, American oil major ExxonMobil, co-owner of South Hook LNG, reported bumper profits of $21 billion.
The vast natural assets of Wales have long been recognised by the powers-that-be. 200 years ago, Admiral Nelson referred to the Haven Waterway as "the finest port in Christendom" And that is
precisely what it remains, an internationally important energy port, importing resources and exporting power not just across the United Kingdom and to the Republic of Ireland, but onwards to
But what the UK government can't or won't do, an Independent Welsh Exchequer could. £1.5 billion is a huge amount of money that could transform Pembrokeshire and the rest of Wales, support real
investment in jobs and public services, and provide real support to those who are currently being hit so hard because of bad decisions made in London, with nothing more than sticking plasters on offer
down the other end of the M4.
The financial benefits of Independence are there to be reaped. So, let's take the power back, and put it where it belongs, in the hands of the Welsh people!
Written by guest columnist, Jim Dunckley, of Yes Hwlffordd for YesCymru Milford Haven and printed in the Pembrokeshire Herald on 07.10.2022