Job losses threat over carbon targets

Seven of the world's biggest energy companies have written to the Government threatening to withdraw hundreds of millions of pounds of investment – with the potential loss of "tens of thousands of new jobs" – because of a lack of commitment to carbon reduction.

The letter to the Energy Secretary, Ed Davey, and copied to the Chancellor, George Osborne, and the Prime Minister, David Cameron, says that the Government's failure to committ to key carbon reduction targets has caused them to "reassess the level of political risk in the UK".

Between them the companies, which include Siemens, Alstom UK, and Mitsubishi Power Systems, employ 17,500 people.

They are world leaders in the development of nuclear- and gas- powered plants, as well as renewables and offshore wind farms.

The letter, sent last Thursday and leaked to The Times, says they are planning "significant" investment in Britain but that this is "critically dependent on a long-term stable policy framework".

The Coalition can't agree whether to sign up to new greenhouse gas targets. In their letter the leaders of the seven businesses call for a "binding 2030 target for power sector decarbonisation".