Labour plans to spread risks in privatising nuclear industry
Thursday 07 September 1995
A Labour government would increase the financial risks for accidents and decommissioning borne by the soon-to-be privatised nuclear industry, striking a "fairer balance" for the tax-payer, according to Brian Wilson, opposition spokesman on trade and industry.
Mr Wilson also warned that it would "be incumbent" on any Labour government to cons- ider the issue of competition in the electricity generating industry, with a view to a possible inquiry by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission.
Speaking at a London conference, Mr Wilson said that potential investors in the privati- sation should be aware Labour would consider shifting much more risk to the private sector in the event of a nuclear accident. He also said that taxpayers must not be left to shoulder an open-ended bill for liabilities relating to the ageing Magnox reactors - which are excluded from the privatisation plan - which could amount to many billions of pounds.
His statement will fuel the controversy surrounding the Magnox plants. The Government has said it will transfer the stations to state-owned British Nuclear Fuels, but BNFL has warned that it will refuse to take them on unless ministers make clear that funds will be available to cover decommissioning and waste management costs.
Mr Wilson said: "We cannot endorse a situation where shareholders will benefit from the ownership of the assets of the nuclear industry but where the taxpayer shoulders the liabilities. At the moment we don't have any clear statement from ministers of how future Magnox decommissioning is to be funded."
Mr Wilson also attacked the timetable for the sale - due for completion next summer - as "irresponsible" for such a sensitive industry.
He warned investors that a future Labour administration would reserve the right to review safety arrangements agreed prior to the privatisation and would, if necessary, take remedial action.
"There is a long way to go before privatisation is in the bag. There are questions which potential investors will be asking. Even more important, they are questions which the electorate will be asking with increasing curiosity as the weeks and months go by," Mr Wilson said.
Every opportunity would be taken during the forthcoming Trade and Industry Select Committee inquiry to raise the issues and he promised ministers a rough ride from Labour. The inquiry is regarded as a particularly important process in the case of nuclear, as no new legislation is needed for the sale.
Mr Wilson said: "We will alert public opinion to the dangers and deficiencies inherent in the privatisation case. And we will develop every option available to us in coming to office - if indeed privatisation has taken place."
- 1 Dentist who illegally killed Cecil the lion blames local guides for the scandal
- 2 Kate Winslet thanked 'particularly horrible' girl who bullied her at school after Titanic success
- 3 Norwich paedophile ring: Woman at centre of gang who made children 'sexual play things' guilty of 23 offences
- 4 Black and ethnic minority people twice as likely to be hit by Tory cuts than white people, report finds
- 5 Walter Palmer: American dentist revealed as the killer of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe
Dentist who illegally killed Cecil the lion blames local guides for the scandal
Kate Winslet thanked 'particularly horrible' girl who bullied her at school after Titanic success
Norwich paedophile ring: Woman at centre of gang who made children 'sexual play things' guilty of 23 offences
Black and ethnic minority people twice as likely to be hit by Tory cuts than white people, report finds
Walter Palmer: American dentist revealed as the killer of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn says 'we can learn a great deal from Karl Marx'
The last thing Labour needs is a leader like Jeremy Corbyn who people want to vote for
I am the Jeremy Corbyn supporter that many will tell you doesn't exist
Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
Labour leadership contest: I would never quit the party, says Liz Kendall
iJobs Money & Business
£22500 - £24500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Inbound and outbound calls with...
£18000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing Insurance Bro...
£40 - 45k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Research Associate / Research Anal...
£20000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Summary: The Green Recruitm...