Gordon Brown gave a speech this morning where he said that oil price volatility would continue to be a problem for the coming year. Rapicly changing oil prices hit motorists in the summer and continues to affect people in the form of their utility bills. Electricity and gas companies seem to have a bewildering way of pricing their products and failing to pass on oil price cuts claiming that they have had to pre-buy at earlier prices (which didn't seem to stop them hoiking the price up as soon as it started rising).
Now the Secretary General of OPEC - the fluffy people who rule the world - has hit back. Abdalla Salem El-Badri has said that Gordon Brown is 'confused' over the issue and ought to look to his own country and Government first. Mr El Badri reckons that Brown made billions out of the high oil prices through the huge government petrol taxes and should be looking to cut petrol prices here before he starts having a go at OPEC.
Brown and OPEC have previous, as they say. Brown slagged off the oil producers back when prices started to fall when they said that they might cut production to 'stabilise' prices (ie keep them high).
It's one of those spats where you have little sympathy for either side. Clearly lower oil prices are in the interest of most people and both OPEC and the UK Government have a responsibility in this area. Long term, of course, we need to reduce our reliance on oil and that means:
- more investment in home insulation (see my budget post last March for my response to the Government's efforts in this area);
- more investment and better conditions for non oil based motoring;
- significant investment in renewable enrgy sources (and I don't mean nuclear)