MPs: Hinkley nuclear plant deal will 'hit the poorest the hardest'

Posted On: 
22nd November 2017

The deal agreed by Theresa May to build Britain's first new nuclear power plant in 20 years will hit the poorest the hardest, MPs have warned.

Energy firm EDF insisted the agreement would benefit Britain
PA Images

Energy consumers have been "locked into an expensive deal lasting 35 years" with the Hinkley Point station, according to the powerful Public Accounts Committee.

Signing off the deal for the plant near Bridgwater in Somerset was one of the first major decisions taken by the Prime Minister after she took office.

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The arrangement guarantees energy firm EDF a fixed price of £92.50 per megawatt hour for 35 years.

According to the Government, consumers will have to pay some £30bn in top up payments if the price of energy falls below that level.

The new PAC report says: "Over the life of the contract, consumers are left footing the bill and the poorest consumers will be hit hardest.

“Yet in all the negotiations no part of government was really championing the consumer interest."

Committee chair Meg Hillier added: "Bill-payers have been dealt a bad hand by the Government in its approach to this project.

"Its blinkered determination to agree the Hinkley deal, regardless of changing circumstances, means that for years to come energy consumers will face costs running to many times the original estimate.

"It doesn't know what UK workers and business will gain from this project, and appears to have no coherent idea of what to do about it."

But EDF insisted the agreement would benefit Britain.

A spokesman said: “The agreed price is lower than 80% of other low carbon capacity contracted so far and the project has restarted UK nuclear construction after a quarter century. Construction is fully under way and is already delivering a huge benefit to British jobs, skills and industrial strategy.”