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CBI Criticise Political Posturing in Energy Market

The CBI has sent a stark warning to politicians that despite, and indeed because of, the political posturing, the UK energy market remains at risk and that business leaders are increasingly concerned about the ability for the energy industry and political attitudes towards it to undermine on-going investment in the UK.

The CBI highlighted:

  • “Careless comments and populist proposals [from politicians]”
  • “[The prevalence of] short-term thinking … distorting the debate on our energy future”
  • Labour’s unworkable and ill-thought through energy price freeze pledge
  • The Conservative’s anti-onshore wind policies
  • That 57% of businesses “think the UK’s energy security is worse than it was five years ago”.
  • That the regulator, Ofgem expects that only 2% of spare capacity will be available in Winter 2015-16 as power plants are shut and investment in new ones stall.

Katja Hall, the CBI’s deputy director general:

“Long-term certainty is needed but just as policies start to click into place, the political climate heats up again. It feels like a game of snakes and ladders.

“One careless comment or populist proposal – whether we’re talking about cutting support for onshore wind farms or freezing energy prices – can make businesses feel like they’re right back at square one.

“For investors, this is a real worry. And when that investment can go anywhere in the world, it should be a real worry for politicians too.”

With the on-going Competitions and Market Authority investigation into the energy market not due to be published until winter 2015 at the earliest together.

With no sign of consensus or decision-making being seen on new generation plant.

And with a dwindling fossil fuel reserve with the Global Sustainability Institute at Anglia Ruskin University reporting that the UK has just 5 years, 4.5 years of coal and 3 years of gas remaining.

The CBI is correct, the time is right to be worried about the immediate and long-term future of the energy market.

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