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The despatch box

We're you thinking what the Conservatives were thinking? Did you believe the Lib Dems were the real alternative? Is Labour moving forward not back? This blog will focus on all things political. It will be irritating, agitating and maybe just maybe it will get you thinking.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Labour latest - part two

I attended a very interesting fringe event hosted by The Fabian Society. The panel was made up of the Deputy General Secretary o fthe TUC, Alan Johnson (Trade and Industry Secretary of State) and Digby Jones of the CBI.

The two hot topics being discussed were pension provision and also energy (or lackof) provision. Digby Jones was his usual "chirpy self" slamming into the Union representative who expected in future that there should be mandatory pension provision - with the individual paying 5% and business coughing up 10%.

On the subject of energy - Jones pointed out that if there was a severe winter there was a distinct possibility that business customers would have the plug pulled (quite literally) on their energy supply. Whereas the rest of Europe have 55 dayds worth of reserves, this country has approximately 11. Jones suggested that the nuclear option needs to be considered - and that the current Government needs to be brave enough to say as much.

These two issues are certainly going to be up there in the issues that will dominate Labour's third term. The question is whether it will be Blair or Brown who will be steering the ship.


  • At Monday, September 26, 2005 9:23:00 pm, Blogger James Hellyer said…

    After eight years we are still waiting for the Government's electricity policy.

    The progressive closure of ageing coal-fired power stations, which generate 35% of the country's electricity, is due to be accelerated by the EU's directive that all plants must be fitted with expensive clean-coal technology. No such stations are planned.

    Similarly, our nuclear power stations are getting old. Half will be decommissioned by 2010 and by 2023 all but Sizewell B will have been shut down.

    Simply to maintain the present levels of nuclear generation will require 10 new power stations, each at least the size of Sizewell B to be in commission between 2010 and 2025.

    We have an approaching energy crisis.

    I've actually got a post up about that at my blog:

  • At Monday, September 26, 2005 9:38:00 pm, Blogger Jonathan Sheppard said…

    The Government has put all its eggs in one basket on the subject of renewables. Lets go for on shore windfarms - they will bridge the gap. Oh come on Tony - or rather come on Malcolm Wicks the Energy Minister. There needs to be a grown up debate about where we are going to get our energy from.

    There also needs to be some reform of the planning system which has meant that it has been almost impossible to get permission for new energy storage facilities.

    A huge issue - and strangely no answers coming from Government.

  • At Monday, September 26, 2005 9:53:00 pm, Blogger James Hellyer said…

    It's also one we're worryingly silent on, as Michael Ancram observed over the weekend. At some point we need to decide whether we'll support the nuclear option or not.


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