Chancellor promises “reliable energy” but no substance

Chancellor George Osborne promised the nation “reliable energy” today in his Spending Review but sketched out few new details of future energy infrastructure projects. Declaring to the Commons the “job […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Chancellor George Osborne promised the nation “reliable energy” today in his Spending Review but sketched out few new details of future energy infrastructure projects.

Declaring to the Commons the “job of the state” is to provide the schools, science, transport links and “reliable energy that enable business to grow”, the Chancellor said “investing in our economic infrastructure also means investing in energy.”

Despite Prime Minister David Cameron earlier yelling at Labour leader Ed Miliband: “You can’t build a nuclear power plant overnight!” his Conservative colleague gave little detail on plans for new nuclear.

However he did state “now we provide guarantees for new nuclear”, with rumours of a big announcement tomorrow on the nuclear strike price swiftly surfacing after his speech.

Promising “the energy of the future at a price we can afford”, Mr Osborne talked up renewable spending, a civil nuclear programme “when other countries are unable to continue theirs” and a North Sea gas industry “second to none”.

Just as he did in his Budget for 2013, the Chancellor emphasised tax breaks for shale gas.

Earlier in the month Mr Osborne asked departments to find £11.5 billion of further savings and today the Chancellor confirmed the Department of Energy and Climate Change must cut 8% of its budget and find £83 million of resource savings in 2015-16.

Pensioners living abroad and claiming the winter fuel payments will be subject to a “temperature test” and won’t receive the payment if they live in a region known for hot weather, he said.