The Treasury is very much ready to boost a new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point with a multi-billion pound guarantee, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said today.
However in a speech to members of the think-tank CentreForum at Guildhall this morning, he said the Government is still adamant nuclear will not get “public subsidy”.
After a speech which criticised “short-term wins” in government policy at the expense of long term stability, he suggested the Coalition’s ten year plan for infrastructure gives a “clear sense of a pipeline of projects”.
A hiatus in building would be eased with government funding help, he said: “We’ve offered a multi-million pound guarantee to advance the new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point.”
The Chief Secretary later clarified: “On nuclear, we’ve said throughout that we don’t support any specific public subsidy. What we’re working with on negotiations around Hinkley Point – which remain to reach a conclusion – is precisely a way of supporting that through the Electricity Market Reform that Lib Dem Secretary of State Ed Davey is pushing through. [It] doesn’t offer public subsidy in that sense.”
The deal between government and EDF over new Hinkley Point power station “remains to reach a conclusion” though, he added.
Asked whether political parties “pander to nimbyism” on the question of nuclear power and fracking, Mr Alexander replied: “At the Lib Dem party conference, we had debate on that very question and the party changed its view. We’ve come to a more sensible view on nuclear.”