A Home of Your Own?
... Building With Britain
Friday 16th October: The Great Housing Crisis and how to solve it pre-occupies both sides of our political spectrum, writes Anthony Coombs, Chairman, S&U PLC and former MP for the Wyre Forest:
George Osborne, the Conservative Chancellor, sees solving it as central to his ‘Fixing the Foundations’ programme to boost British productivity. Jeremy Corbyn, Labour’s leader, has reintroduced ‘Council Houses’ into the political lexicon as a means of increasing supply.
Both views will shortly collide in the parliamentary debate on the Housing Bill. The Conservative Government will introduce measures to promote a greater supply of homes. These will include automatic permissions for building on brown field sites and forcing, or enabling, Councils to make land available for development. Labour will, as usual, bemoan ‘cash starved councils’ deprived of the means to provide housing for the poor.
Friday 9nd October: Whatever the initial uncertainty a Brexit might bring, it won’t be the running sore of uncertainty past present and future. That, says Politeia's Director, Sheila Lawlor, was the message from many MPs meeting in Manchester.
Friday 2nd October: Corbyn provides a welcome change of political style but the substance is anything but new, says Sheila Lawlor, Politeia’s Director.
This week in Brighton, Labour delegates closed their Party conference as usual with the Red Flag. However this year, no longer was it the out-of-date symbol it had been since Tony Blair made his bid for middle Britain.
Friday 25th September: This week the Chancellor, George Osborne, announced a guarantee of £2bn to back Chinese investment in the new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point C, to be built by the French.
Britain needs to keep the lights on, and this week’s announcement of a £2bn guarantee for Hinkley Point nuclear project, aims to help make that happen. The proposed construction of Hinkley Point C – a £16 billion project - will also secure thousands of jobs across the country, provide 7 per cent of the UK’s electricity; and it will also get the ball rolling on a whole new generation of civil nuclear energy infrastructure in the UK, says David Mowat MP, who co chairs the All Party Group on Nuclear energy. The announcement makes clear that Britain is moving to re-start its civil nuclear industry. Here, the drivers behind that decision will be explained.
New nuclear energy– why we need it In 2014 around 65 per cent of UK electricity was produced by fossil fuels (increasingly these are now being imported, with gas coming from Qatar, Norway and Russia). A further 20 per cent is produced from nuclear. The remainder comes from renewables, in particular biomass.
However, already 20 per cent of the UK’s electricity capacity has closed in the last ten years. Between now and the end of 2030, a further 35 per cent of our electricity generation will be lost, partly the result of ageing and partly the result of commitments on emissions to which we have tied ourselves. Hard choices must now be made if the infrastructure is to be ready when needed to fill the gap. Furthermore, it is estimated that electricity generation will have to be doubled over the next 30 years if transport is to be de-carbonised (which the 2008 Climate Change Act obliges).
Without a significant proportion of new nuclear energy, there would be no possibility of meeting our emissions targets or developing an acceptable degree of energy security. Hinkley Point alone will produce roughly 7 per cent of Britain’s electricity but it is only a start.
Overseas expertise, overseas funds: why are they needed for Hinkley Point C?Today, Britain is confronting the consequences of failed policy since the 1980s. Key parts of the nuclear industry were mothballed as successive governments made significant errors of policy. The viable parts were sold off and Britain’s leadership ceded to others – particularly France. Right now, France has much cheaper electricity than the UK andfar lower emissions per capita.