As soon as the details are announced in the new year, I shall be amongst the first in the queue to take advantage of Brown's £400 subsidy for a new central heating boiler. I even know the exact make and model that will be fitted.
Have I been convinced by the AGW 'evidence'? have I developed a planetary conscience? Do I need to save £125 a year in gas bills? Well, actually, no to all of these.
My existing boiler was old when I bought this place back in 1995; it is distinctly late '80s, badged as an 'RS turbo' after the Ford Escorts of the time. Every year I have it serviced by the same bloke, and from time to time something breaks. Parts became unavailable through the service networks some years ago, and for the past few years I've been collecting spares through eBay. Two years ago the overheat stat broke, and we just pulled it out and discarded it until I find a new one on eBay for my serviceman to fit, but so far no luck. I just have to warn guests that after the heating's been running for a few hours, the hot water will emerge from the tap at about 90deg. Fine for me.
So I'm one of those who would have been replacing their boilers anyway who will take advantage of Gordon's boiler scrappage scheme. And here's the nub. So will most other beneficiaries of the scheme.
It was Edmunds.com that developed the methodology for evaluating scrappage schemes. You calculate how many additional units have been sold overall during the scheme, and divide the total scheme cost by this figure to get the true tax cost per additional unit sold. For the US cash for clunkers scheme, the figure is about $24,000 per car. Likewise, I expect the incremental sales of new boilers to be marginal - all the rest would have been bought anyway. And if the ratio is the same as for cash for clunkers, each additional low-energy boiler will cost the UK taxpayer something like £4,800.