Hinkley Point C Review

Before the Prime Minister took off for Switzerland on her holiday I was in touch with her office to find out what was happening with Hinkley C. This new nuclear project on the Somerset coast is very important to our economy, with many local firms gearing up to be involved and future skills development and jobs set to flow from it.

After EDF's main board approval of the "investment decision" last month, the Government announced they wanted to check the detail of the deal. Having spoken to them, I do think it is simply a matter of those responsible for our new administration wanting to be sure of such an important long term decision.

I appreciate some have concerns about nuclear energy, and I am feeding those back to Ministers, but new nuclear is an important part of the mix of sources we need for energy which doesn't pollute our atmosphere and augment global warming, and it is a modern technology in which our area can become specialist.

As a catalyst to skills and infrastructure development, Hinkley C is also second to none as a project, so I hope it will move forward swiftly when we get back to Parliament in September.

Some have been concerned about cost, pointing to falls in the oil price the past year which have made the guaranteed price for Hinkley C's energy look relatively expensive, at least in the short term. The supply is multi-decade however, and it is worth pointing out that the Government's long term borrowing costs have fallen just as dramatically over the past few months.

There is perhaps a chance to look again at the financing of Hinkley to take advantage of that, especially as pension funds right now are so short of decent yielding fixed income opportunities to meet their long term liabilities.