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Report (3rd Day)

Part of Infrastructure Bill [HL] – in the House of Lords at 7:45 pm on 10th November 2014.

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Photo of Lord Judd Lord Judd Labour 7:45 pm, 10th November 2014

My Lords, I have been glad to put my name to this amendment, which is very wise and prudent. It has been suggested in recent years that the interpretation of welfare capitalism has changed. The original concept was that capitalism had a social responsibility that it should discharge for the well-being of society as a whole. It seems that quite a lot of people have come to believe that perhaps welfare capitalism is about ensuring that while wealth generation and profit is privatised, risk is nationalised and is the responsibility of the taxpayer. The point in the amendment that is particularly important in this context is what happens in the case of insolvency, when all the best predictions can be blown away in the wind in the chaos that follows.

If a scheme is put forward and is being properly costed, the cost of dealing with potential damage, closure or the consequences of that is an essential element in the calculations. We are concentrating today on this new and exciting aspect of shale development but we are beginning to see infrastructure across the country in connection with power generation and its distribution that is no longer required. We need to be very careful that we are ensuring that any adverse results of that are not left just for the taxpayer to settle, but that they are the responsibility of the people who, while they are operating, are receiving the profits that come from that.