Here's something I didn't know.
Back in June, little Ed Miliband set out his cunning plan for getting the putative power-station Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS) industry underway in the UK: the first 4 full-size 'demon- strator' plants are to be funded by a levy on all our electricity bills, if he gets his way. This is 'necessary' because nobody has any intention of spending their own money on such a thing when (a) the whole idea has a lot of hair on it, and (b) it's obvious anyhow that fat subsidies are in the air.
But according to this piece from earlier in the week:
"the Treasury needs to approve any [such] levies because they amount to a tax, and the proceeds are treated as public spending"
Perhaps everyone else knew this all along, in which case, pardon my ignorance. But it really puts the cat among the pigeons. Because all the government's favoured means of ensuring the lights stay on - wind farms (esp. the monstrously uneconomic offshore variety), nukes and new CCS-equipped coal plants - depend on subsidies; and if these are to be labelled public spending ...
I realise, of course, that governments of whatever hue are rarely averse to changing the accounting rules to suit themselves. If this is a Euro-rule (anyone know ??) then doubtless Peter (or the Boy George next year) will have a little word in the right Brussels ear.
But if it's a more generally accepted international principle, it's nigh impossible to carry off such multi-bn £££ schemes without being spotted.
It'll all come down to another dash-for-gas, mark my words.