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Response To National Infrastructure Assessment

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

 

GMB RESPONDS TO NATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE ASSESSMENT

The National Infrastructure Commission is wrong is to suggest Britain can in some way ‘get by’ without a balanced energy mix says GMB Union

GMB, the energy union, has responded to today’s National Infrastructure Assessment by the National Infrastructure Commission.

The report, the first ever for the UK, argues that the country has an opportunity to fund greener ways of providing energy to homes and businesses without increasing bills. [1]

However, environmental levies on consumer bills are set to reach £13billion by 2021/2 , treble their 2015/16 total of £4.6billion, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) [2], who estimated that by 2022 these subsidies will add £10 per week to household energy bills.

MB Congress in June carried a motion calling for subsidies for renewable energy sources to be paid from general taxation, cutting household energy bills by £520 per year from 2022.

The ‘Cost of Energy Review’ by Dieter Helm, published last year, called for this policy change. [See notes 3 link to Helm Review and previous GMB press release].

Where energy subsidies of any sort can be shown to be justified and in the public interest, then GMB says they should be be paid for out of basic taxation - a much fairer and more progressive way.

In March, a National Grid Report said that to meet our emissions targets, gas will be fundamental to any realistic future energy scenario and that it is not feasible to switch over to electric heating on the scale required.

The Grid report says that a move to electric heating would require 20,000 new boilers per week to be fitted through to 2050 (which every household would have to pay for) and a seven fold increase in the capacity of the electricity grid to 290 gigawatts, which is neither realistic nor affordable, emphasising the future importance of gas and the need for our own independent gas supply.

Justin Bowden, GMB National Secretary for Energy said:

“The National Infrastructure Commission is right that there should be greater investment into green hydrogen gas and energy efficiency saving measures for the UK’s buildings.

“Where the National Infrastructure Commission is wrong is to suggest Britain can in some way ‘get by’ without a balanced energy mix which includes the reliable base load electricity capacity that comes from zero carbon new nuclear power stations and lower carbon gas.

“If we are to address the reality of climate change - whilst keeping our country’s lights turned on, our homes heated and our economy working - then we have to face up to the fact that we need a mix of energy which combines increasing renewable sources, like wind and solar, with new nuclear and gas.

"To do this, we must also carry the 27m energy bill-payers with us and move to increasing energy self-sufficiency in an uncertain world.

“Environmental levies on consumer bills are set to reach £13billion by 2021/2 , treble their 2015/16 total of £4.6billion, and by 2022 these subsidies will add £10 per week to household energy bills.

“GMB Congress in June carried a motion calling for subsidies for renewable energy sources to be paid from general taxation, cutting household energy bills by £520 per year from 2022. “The ‘Cost of Energy Review’ by Dieter Helm, published last year, called for this policy change. [See notes 3 link to Helm Review and previous GMB press release].

“That wind and solar are intermittent shouldn’t be a point of contention, quite the contrary, but a reason why base load zero carbon nuclear and lower carbon gas energy sources are essential for a balanced and secure low emissions future.

“Where energy subsidies of any sort can be shown to be justified and in the public interest, then GMB says they should be be paid for out of basic taxation - a much fairer and more progressive way.

“In March, a National Grid Report said that to meet our emissions targets, gas will be fundamental to any realistic future energy scenario and that it is not feasible to switch over to electric heating on the scale required.”

ENDS

Contact: Justin Bowden on 07710 631351 or GMB press office on 07958 156846 or at press.office@gmb.org.uk

Notes to Editors:

[1] http://bit.ly/2r0VSnL

[2] Economic and Fiscal Outlook Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), page 104, Environmental Levies, March 2017 http://cdn.budgetresponsibility.org.uk/March2017EFO-231.pdf

[3] Helm Report here: : https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cost-of-energy-independent-review

GMB press release here: http://www.gmb.org.uk/cost-energy-review-downgrade-ofgem
 

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