Anthony Hilton: Flawed plan to rebuild Britain with no money

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The Independent Online

The Government wants the private sector to finance the huge costs of nuclear power stations and hopes French company EDF will shortly kick off its new build.

This continues to be its public position in spite of the high casualty rate among rival companies – like Centrica and the the private sector – to finance the huge costs of nuclear power stations.

This marks a further unravelling in the Government's grand plan to rebuild Britain's infrastructure without spending any money and, sooner or later, it is going to have to accept that it is not going to work. Some things are just too big for individual companies to handle because they risk being wiped out.

Unfortunately the longer the Treasury and Chancellor keep up the pretence that things are otherwise, the less that gets built, the more the UK's potential for future growth is undermined. And what makes this doubly silly is that the Government has already told potential suppliers that customers will pay a higher rate for nuclear electricity than they will for power generated from other sources, as a way to cover these costs. So we are – or will – pay a nuclear tax anyway.

All this manoeuvring is to keep the cost off the Government balance sheet but it adds huge costs in complexity, uncertainty and delay. It really is no way to run a country which seeks to be competitive in the 21st century.