National protest at nuclear sell-off

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Indy Politics
Labour leaders warned last night they would mount a national campaign against the privatisation of nuclear power if the Government gives it the go-ahead, writes Colin Brown.

The Cabinet yesterday delayed a final decision on the sale of the industry, possibly until next week, but the decision in principle to sell off Nuclear Electric and Scottish Electric has been agreed by a sub- committee.

Ministers are working on the details of the sale, including whether to sell the two companies together or separately. Opinion has hardened in favour of one flotation. The Government plans to abolish the fossil fuel levy, which could allow the Government to reduce electricity prices by up to 10 per cent before the next general election. It is expected to raise £3bn, which the Treasury is keen to use for tax cuts.

But Tory MPs in Scotland have warned that they will oppose this, and other senior Tory MPs have privately warned they may not support plans to rush through privatisation next year. That would not require legislation but Labour will force a vote before it goes through. The Labour campaign, supported by environmental groups, will seek to mobilise opinion to force ministers to think again.