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Nuclear Power

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:47 pm on 22nd October 2002.

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Photo of Vincent Cable Vincent Cable Shadow Spokesperson (Trade and Industry), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Trade and Industry) 7:47 pm, 22nd October 2002

The hon. Gentleman makes the point with considerable eloquence and I thank him for doing so.

In conclusion, the Government are risking very large amounts of public money to support a failed enterprise in the nuclear power industry for very questionable long-term reasons. If they have large amounts of public money available for that purpose—I did not think that they had—there are other ways in which it could almost certainly be used more cost-effectively. For example, they could support energy conservation. There are probably Labour Members present who, like me, were members of the Committee that scrutinised the Home Energy Conservation Bill before it was sunk because the Treasury was not willing to give the relatively small support that was required. If the money is available, the Government could provide pump priming support for renewables.

I hope that I have posed a series of questions to Ministers. I think that they are legitimate questions about where their intervention is leading. I hope that the Minister can answer them, but I fear that the Government are creating a subsidy on a scale that will eventually make the millennium dome look like a very small leakage indeed.