The Daily Telegraph

Targeted energy relief


SIR – There is much speculatio­n about what the new PM will do to help combat rising energy bills, predicted to reach over £4,000 a year in January.

One thing is certain: not every home requires support. It should be reserved for those whose current energy bills are greater than, say, 10 per cent of their income after tax. Broadly, this would limit support to homes whose annual income is less than £45,000.

Anyone earning this amount will either be on PAYE or fill in a tax return. It is easy, therefore, either to exclude high earners from receiving support or to recover it via the tax system later.

It would be an outrage for the taxpayer to help the wealthy pay bills. Peter Munro

Stoke Trister, Somerset

SIR – Boris Johnson blames Tony Blair and Nick Clegg for the failure to develop British civil nuclear power (report, September 2), but it is the Tory party that must bear most of the blame.

In 1979 David Howell, then the energy secretary, announced a programme to build several pressurise­d-water reactors. He visited the National Nuclear Corporatio­n, where I was an engineer, to assure us that the programme would go ahead. I asked Mr Howell why we should believe him and got a waffly reply about “political authority”. The first and only station to go ahead was Sizewell B, and only after a five-year public inquiry during which the legal profession was greatly enriched but expertise in the technology was advanced not one iota.

The remaining stations fell victim to privatisat­ion, the “dash for gas”, the scientific illiteracy of politician­s of all parties, lawyers, the ignorance of most of the British middle classes and the media’s spreading of alarm where none was due (every BBC programme on nuclear power began with the mushroom cloud of a bomb test).

So my colleagues and I found careers elsewhere, slipped into retirement and some died of old age. Until very recently no new young blood was recruited into the industry. David Macdonald

Manningtre­e, Essex

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