Many of us are wondering how we are going to pay for our fuel if the energy prices continue to rise at the current rates. People are already struggling financially and debt levels are at an all-time high, so any increase in basic living costs could push the average UK family over the edge and deep into poverty. The UK already imports more gas than it produces in the North Atlantic and while Russian Gas giants rub their hands together, UK families are turning to every avenue possible to borrow money to survive.
The General Cost of Living
Even the cost basic food products such as bread and potatoes have been rising and we really are starting to feel the pinch. For the first time in many years, our high streets are losing their appeal to top designers because the average British shopper is more concerned with practical purchases and how to budget for necessities. Of course, you will always have a portion of society who will borrow in store and credit cards to ensure they have the latest accessories, but the vast majority of people are now concerned about the state UK economy.
Back in Time
Nuclear power was hailed as the answer to our clean energy problems when coal was the main source of energy in the UK and in all fairness, it has reduced our emissions more than any other solution to our energy crisis. The cost of energy too, is lower because nuclear energy is more cost effective and requires less logistics than burning fossil fuels. The problem is that many of us fear the same disasters that have struck Chernobyl and Japan, but despite these obvious risks, the Japanese are building up to six nuclear plants in the UK at a cost of billions of pounds in a move that will ultimately lower our energy bills.
Improved Cost of Living
The cost of living in the UK has been higher than many of our neighbours and countries around the world for as long as most of us can remember and even with more energy production to take place onshore, we are unlikely to see a significant change. Those using more than one source of fuel will continue to see prices rise and the cycle of borrowing during the winter and repaying during the summer is likely to stay with us long after the 60 years life expectancy for nuclear power plants has expired.
Eventually, the UK citizen will have to adapt to life as it was before we experienced sustained periods of prosperity. It is doubtful that borrowing will still exist in its current form with high street lenders outnumbered by around fifty-to-one in the sub-prime market and even more loan brokers who are not actual lenders. Although there is nothing wrong with borrowing to cover bills and short-term needs, it is a sign of the times that more and more of us feel the need to take short-term loans consistently to cover household bills for heating and hot water.
In short, nuclear energy is unlikely to be the answer to our money problems because we will always need more and more energy and while nuclear is better than burning fossil fuel, we really need to focus on renewable energy if our wishes for energy prices to level off at some point in the future are to come true. Realistically though, we live in a cold climate destined to become worse and less predictable and although we hope our children and grandchildren will be able to warm their homes without a mountain of debt, the fact is it is unlikely to happen.
Stuart Edge is a blogger who, although not very political, likes to write about the environment and social change in the UK. He has used payday loans to pay his bills on more than one occasion.