The head of energy giant ScottishPower has waded into the row over Hinkley Point, insisting that the controversial subsidy deal for EDF’s proposed nuclear plant should be renegotiated because it is too expensive.
Keith Anderson, the firm’s chief corporate officer, said the deal, provisionally agreed by the Government in 2013 following lengthy negotiations, no longer made sense in the light of lower gas and offshore wind costs.
“It looks like a contract that was written five years ago on a business case that was probably pulled together 10 years ago. It looks out of line with what’s going on in the market now,” he said. …”
The article raises very serious concerns about the business sense of our Local Enterprise Partnership, which seems blind to the economic realities of the Hinkley C project.
We know, of course, that many members of our LEP have enormous direct and indirect investment in the project and presumably need it to continue to allow their own interests to thrive.
But is it in OUR interest to allow them to trouser likely profits from such an unbalanced deal?
They will say that they are doing this for our benefit, of course – more jobs, more houses, etc. But with Brexit we now look towards having fewer people coming to this country from the EU (though exceptions would doubtless be made for French and Chinese workers) and much higher import costs if we do not have free trade in the EU. Plus the business case for renewables is strengthening all the time, especially as battery storage research and implementation has made enormous progress.
Our LEP members know all this but only last week its CEO was telling us how hard he and his members are battling to keep the project going:
We have to ask: who are they battling for – and why?
The great scandal of LEPs now lies before us: small (very small) groups of business people who look to their own interests before those of the residents where they live. Often in secret and with minimal or no scrutiny. And who pursue their own interests even when they put them at odds with the majority of people in the areas they purportedly represent.
Our East Devon Business Forum seems to have been a practice run for our Local Enterprise partnership, and we all know how that ended – also coincidentally in the Daily Telegraph: