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Answer this: is it fair that the poor should pay for the affluent to install heat pumps in their expensively-appointed homes? Surely not. Yet, since the cost of installing air-sourced heat pumps is prohibitive – and let’s not even think about the cost of ground-sourced pumps – only the affluent can afford to do it. So it follows that, since the UK government is generously subsidising the cost of fitting heat pumps, those who can’t afford them are compelled to subsidise those who can via their tax payments (both direct and indirect).

Since that’s clearly unfair, why do 75 per cent of people in the UK think the government should subsidise the switch to heat pumps, according to a survey of 2,000 Brits by Forbes Advisor, a price-comparison website? It’s partly because the answer you get depends on how the question is asked, but also because subsidies are always nice because it seems someone else is paying.

This is one of the many perversities of the government’s drive to reduce CO2 emissions; a drive that favours expensive gestures over cost-effectiveness. Another such – also in the frontline of consumer awareness – is the subsidy to buy electric cars, which can run to £2,500 per car.

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