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Nuclear Power

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:50 pm on 22nd October 2002.

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Photo of Mr Brian Wilson Mr Brian Wilson Minister of State (Industry and Energy), Department of Trade and Industry 9:50 pm, 22nd October 2002

We are manipulating the market in one sense, through the support we are giving to renewables. Are the Liberal Democrats criticising us for manipulating the market in favour of renewables?

I believe that the #650 million loan to British Energy—I emphasise that it is a loan, and that it is capped—makes sense for the energy industry. Let me say in passing that it also makes sense for the people who work for British Energy. I believe it makes sense for security of supply, but I believe too that it makes sense for the taxpayer. The daftest option, from the taxpayer's point of view, would be to switch off electricity generation by British Energy, surrender the revenue, and at the same time pick up all the costs that would be associated with such action. That, it appears to me, is the sequence of actions that the Liberal Democrats and their associates are recommending, and it is bonkers.