The Shadow Energy Minister has criticised the Government’s energy policies for being dictated by the Treasury. As Energy Minister Charles Hendry announced the National Policy Statements that will be the framework for the industry, his shadow counterpart took the opportunity to air the Opposition’s distaste for Treasury interference in energy policy.
Huw Irranca Davies said in Parliament: “The final National Policy Statements, if they are approved by the House, will be critical in achieving a green, affordable, secure and diverse energy future.
“We do not, however, support sleight of hand or the appearance of double dealing. The carbon floor price announced in the recent Budget is a pretty poor way of generating the new low-carbon investment that the documents envisage. It was, in fact, a back-door windfall for existing nuclear and renewables to the tune of £1 billion and a far from stealthy Treasury tax grab of £740 million in 2013-14 rising to £1.4 billion in 2015-16.”
He claimed that the carbon tax “shook confidence” in DECC’s Electricity Market Reform, “shocked” the Big Six, and “hammered” energy intensive users, adding: “It gives carbon tax a bad name and shows who is in charge of DECC policy: the Chancellor.”
Justine Greening, the Economic Secretary has defended the carbon price floor in the Commons in July: “There is also a contradiction between what Opposition Members have been saying. They complain that this is a tax-raising measure, yet they also say that it is a subsidy. Those arguments are contradictory.”
When contacted by ELN, DECC would not be drawn on the issue and declined to comment.