Hinkley Point C Statement BBC Parliament on BBC Two


Hinkley Point C Statement

Business, energy and industrial strategy secretary Greg Clark MP makes a statement on Hinkley Point C, followed by highlights of Transport Questions, from Thursday 15 September.


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Order, the Secretary of State for business, energy and industrial

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strategy. Secretary Dr Greg Clark. Thank you very much and with your

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permission, I would like to make a point on the Hinkley point. As the

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House knows on July 28, following the decision by the board of EDF to

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approve the investment decision of the ?18 billion project to build a

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new plant in Somerset, I announce that the Government carefully

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consider all elements of the project before entering into a contract with

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EDF and that we would make a decision by the early autumn. This

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decision is made with two important changes. On the Hinkley project, the

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Government can prevent the sale of EDF's controlling stake prior to the

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construction. The agreement will be confirmed in an exchange of

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Government and the EDF. Existing legal powers and the new local

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framework will mean that the Government is able to intervene once

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it is in operation. Further more, and even more importantly, we'll

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reform the wider legal framework for future foreign investment in British

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critical infrastructure. The reforms will have three elements. Firstly,

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after Hinkley, the British Government will take a specials

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share in all future nuclear new build projects. This will ensure

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that significant stakes cannot be sold without the Government's

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knowledge or concept. This will allow the Government to advise or

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direct the ONR to take action to protect national security as a

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result of change. Thirdly, the Government will

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significantly reform the ownership and control of critical

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infrastructure to ensure that the full implications of foreign

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ownership are scrutinised for the purposes of national security. This

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will include a review of the public interest regime and theEnter prize

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Act 2002 and the introduction of cross-cutting national security

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requirement for the continuing Government approval of the ownership

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and control of critical infrastructure. These changes will

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bring Britain's policy framework for the owner and control of critical

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infrastructure into line with other major economies. This will allow the

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UK Government to take a fair and consistent approach to the national

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security implications of critical infrastructure, including nuclear

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energy in the future. These changes mean that while the UK will remain

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one of the most open economies in the world, the public can be

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confident that foreign direct investment works always in the

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country's best interests. This ?18 billion investment in Britain

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provides an upgrade in our supply of clean energy. When it begins

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producing electricity in the middle of the next deckate, it will provide

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7% of the UK's electricity needs giving secure energy to six million

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homes for 60 years. Furthermore, it must be stressed that the contracts

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negotiated shows all of the construction risk on I vestors

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alone. Consumers will not pay a penny unless and until the plants

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generate electricity. The proposed strike price of ?92.50 reducing to

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?9.50 constains insurance against any crossover rollover of

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construction and future high gas prices which have been volatile. It

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compares broadly with the costs of other clean energy, whether offshore

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winds with the additional costs of intermittency, or gas with carbon

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capture and storage for example. # Hinkley has it long overdue in the

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UK creating 26,000 jobs and apprenticeships providing a huge

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boost to the economy, not only in the south-west but in every part of

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the country through the supply chain of firms big and small that will

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benefit. EDF have confirmed that UK businesses are set to secure 64% of

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the value of the ?18 billion investment being made - the biggest

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single capital investment in the UK today. But as the first of a wave of

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new nuclear plants, we expect the experience of rebooting the nuclear

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industry to mean that this should... The cost should reduce for future

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new nuclear power stations of which another five are proposed. Mr

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Speaker, in any consideration of nuclear power, safety will always be

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the number one consideration. The construction of Hinkley Point C will

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be under the close scrutiny of the Office of Nuclear Regulation, which

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is independent of the industry and of ministers. The Office of Nuclear

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Regulation has the power necessary to halt construction or have

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amendments to any part of the plant if at any point it is not completely

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satisfied with the safety of any part of the reactor and its

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associated construction. Unlike in the past, the long-term

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decommissioning costs for the plant will be provided br explicitly as

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part of the funded decommissioning programme at a level that has been

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assessed independently as prudent and conservative. Mr Speaker, any

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investment at that provides significant electricity supplies for

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the next two generations of British people and businesses requires and

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deserves serious consideration. It was right that the new Government

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should have taken the time to consider all components of the

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project. Having reviewed the project, they said that the other

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changes announced today will, for the first tie, remedy the weaknesses

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of the previous regime for critical infrastructure. It's important that

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the right balance between welcoming foreign investment and ensuring it

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serves the national interest is made. That is exactly what the

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changes will achieve. The investment will secure 7% of the UK's

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electricity needs for 60 years, helping replace existing nuclear

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capacity, which is due to be decommissioned in the decade ahead.

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The electricity generated will be reliable and low carbon and so,

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completely compatibility with our climate change objectations and

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Hinkley Point C will inaugurate a new era of UK nuclear power with

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UK-based businesses benefitting from almost two thirds of the ?18 billion

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value of the project with 26,000 jobs and apprenticeships created.

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All of the jobs are good for Britain. It's now right that we

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support the major upgrade - the first of many to the infrastructure

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on which our future depends and I commend this statement to the house.

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I think the Secretary of State for the 13 minutes notice of the

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statement. Let me be clear. This is an important project that must now

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go forward without any further interruption or delay. The Secretary

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of State is aware that by intervening on July 28 after EDF's

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final investment decision, the Government put at risk 25,000

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well-paid jobs, well-qualified jobs. He know that is the delay not only

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risks the ?18 billion of investment into UK jobs and infrastructure, but

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also rocked confidence in investors who now believe that the Prime

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Minister doesn't understand the significance that companies attach

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to the taking of a final investment decision. He's aware of the Ernst

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and Young index which shows that Britain has fallen from fourth to

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13th in terms of attractiveness for low carbon. This has unsettled

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investors further. I now have a number of specific questions. In the

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meeting with the President, did the Prime Minister attempt in any allow

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to isolate the building of the reactor from the deal at Hinkley C?

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Two - if she did? What was the Chinese response? 4 - every member

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of this house will agree that the Government has primary

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responsibility to safeguard our national security. But neither the

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Secretary of State nor the Prime Minister have ever been clear about

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what they consider to be the security risks associated with the

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current deal. So will he set these out now so that the House and the

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public can take a decision as to whether the modifications he is

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proposing adequately reflect the risks he believes exist? 4 -

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specifically, can he set out specifically whether the Government

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was concerned with the intellectual property of the EPR reactor? And if

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so, is he aware that two such reactors are already under

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construction in China. And 5 - were they concerned with the potential

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for a cyber attack? And if so, did he not consider that given the

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importance of the Chinese as having the kite standard in order to market

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the technology around the world, that would undermine the reason why

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the Chinese wanted to be involved in the project in the first place. Six

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- the Secretary of State wishes to dodge the questions. If he does by

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pleating that he doesn't wish to discuss security matters. Then how

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can he assure the House and the public that the' mendments he is

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proposing are sufficient to meet the risks and challenges that justified

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a near fatal delay of the project. But, Mr Speaker, we must address the

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sole argument that the Government has actually presented as well as

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those that they have not. They have claimed that they have introduced

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significant new safeguards into the package, in particular that they

:10:07.:10:10.

will be able to require notification from owners or operators of nuclear

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sites of any change of ownership or part ownership. But Mr Speaker, the

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Secretary of State already has such powers. Will the Secretary of State

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acknowledge that he concurrently -- can currently prevent the sale of

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any of the UK's critical infrastructure, and if this is the

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case, can he explain why he believes that the proposed new powers add

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significantly to the public interest regulations in the Enterprise Act

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2002, or are they merely window-dressing to make it appear

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that the Government's intervention has achieved something, no matter

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how much appearances may indicate to the contrary. Is he aware of the

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House of Commons briefing paper entitled Merges in the Public

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Interest Test. This particularly highlights that energy security is

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already covered by national security and the Government already has the

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powers to prevent such a sale. Is he also aware that in the House of

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Lords during the passage of the Energy Act, my nobel friend Lord

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Putnam introduced an amendment to introduce energy security as a

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public interest. Government lawyers then advised that in cases where a

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merger posed a genuine and serious threat to what is described as

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societal needs such as energy supply, this would be covered by the

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existing provision in the 2002 Act regarding national security. So

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ministers would be empowered to directly intervene? Mr Speak erk,

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the Government created a crisis -- Mr Speaker, the Government created a

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crisis and had a dispute with one of the key future trading partners and

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in the end, all they've done is pretend to give themselves powers

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which they already possessed. This statement is window-dressing. It is

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face-saving by a Government who talked big and eventually backed

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down with a whimper. The Secretary of State should explain whether he

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has reviewed changes to technology that have occurred in the past ten

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years and in particular Smart Grid's battery storage technology and

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energy efficiency levels to manage the electricity supply in such a way

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as to reduce the base for low base power that Hinkley supplies. Order,

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I think that the honourable gentlemen has concluded. His time is

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up. Secretary of State. Thank you very much. The Honourable Gentleman

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raised a number of points, a large number of points and I will address

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them. I think that we share the view that

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we should have the views and be a world leader in the important energy

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industries. But I don't think that he will think of me as churlish that

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it was the absence of a long-term energy policy, during the 13 years

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in which Labour were in Government in which our nuclear fleet was known

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to be coming to the end of its life and no decision was taken to replace

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them. It's fallen to this Government to make the long-term decisions for

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the security of this country. And instead of the approach of making

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like the ostrich and hoping that the problem would go away, this

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Government is looking to the future, providing the upgrade to the

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long-term energy security that we need. In terms of his position

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today, I'm afraid, Mr Speaker, I'm as confused by it as ever. His

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position is no more credible. He seemed to be criticising the Prime

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Minister and the Government for taking the serious decision to

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review the components of a very important deal. That seems to be the

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input of the intervention. However, he said that this had damaged our

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confidence. But when the announcement was made on July 29th,

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the Honourable Gentleman told the BBC, "I'm hoping that what they, the

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Government will do, is take 2-3 months to seriously review it".

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Sohail much for the -- so, so much for the suggestion that we shouldn't

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have had the review in the first place. However, I'm not sure what

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the purpose of the two or three months would be, because the very

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same day, as I have it, he said that he'd already made his mind up. He

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said, "I wouldn't scrap the proposal, the project, because I

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welcome the jobs and I welcome the 7% of electricity that this will

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produce for the nation." So this is the honourable member that was

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urging the Government to take longer to review something. The conclusions

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of which he'd already had in the first place. Mr Speaker, the

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contrast between the seriousness and the forensic approach that this

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Government has taken is, I think, marked. The points that the

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Honourable Gentleman raises, I will address. In terms of the powers on

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to the enterprise act, they're subject to thresholds, takeover

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thresholds and what we are doing is ensuring that any change in

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ownership or control of whatever size will be covered by a national

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security test and that seems to be sensible. On the particular point of

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Hinkley, of course, it was the case until we had negotiated or proposed

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the changes to the this, that EDF was at liberty to sell its stake,

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its majority stake in this very important investment without even

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needing to have the permission of the UK Government. So it seems to

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me, no more sensible and prudent to have agreed perfectly and straight

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forwardly with EDF that the consent of the British Government be

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required. And I'm surprised that the Honourable Gentleman, who I would

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have thought would take a prudent view of matters of national

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security, should suggest - and again it's not clear what he is suggesting

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- that we should not make these changes. When we come to debate

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these things in future, he will set out whether he opposes the measures

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that we're taking to safeguard and to entrench the same kind of regime

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for national security that we have in this country that other advanced

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economies enjoy. In terms of future investments, I was very clear in my

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statement that this is the first of what we hope will be a series of new

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nuclear investments. It is very important that we replace the 20% of

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power generated by nuclear power with another contribution to a

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diverse energy mix from nuclear, and in so doing, we are creating new

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jobs, new opportunities and major advances for the UK economy. Mr John

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Redwood. I welcome proposals to make it more difficult for foreign

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interests, especially national interests and governments to buy our

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national infrastructure. And does the Secretary of State agree with me

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that future power stations would be much better financed by private

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sector British investors or even on occasion by Treasury investment,

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rather than foreign investors who will now be able to take enormous

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sums of money out of our country for 25 years or more while the project

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is up and running, which is a cost on the balance of payment that is we

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really don't want. I would say to my Rt Honerable friend that I look at

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the investment into the UK economy. I hope as we develop our nuclear

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programme and we develop the skills and the supply chain that there

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will, indeed, be British companies that will invest in the various

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parts of the supply chain of new nuclear. In fact, we expect that to

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happen. 64% of the value going to UK companies. But I think that it is an

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important part of the deal that the consumer and the taxpayer will not

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pay a penny for the construction costs, unless and until it generates

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electricity. Now, knowing the record that there has been of cost overruns

:18:14.:18:19.

and delays to new nuclear power stations, I think it is prudent that

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that risk is held by the investors rather than by the taxpayer in this

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case. I'd like to thank the Secretary of State for the advance

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copy of the statement and for the courtesy call this morning to

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explain the Government's decision and welcome the fact that we are

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having this statement before the recess to allow the opportunity for

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questions. I do think that it is unfortunate, though, that the

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Government has decided to take the gamble with Hinkley. There are

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improvements that the Secretary of State has outlined but the deal

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still remains a rotten one. The ?30 billion that it will cost the

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billpayer. He may say that the risk is with EDF and construction

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companies but 25% over budget and four years late and it will still

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make a profit for Berkley. That will be at the expense of the billpayer.

:19:13.:19:18.

If we don't pay a penny until it is built, or even if it is built late,

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what fills the gap? We know that coal is due to come off the system

:19:23.:19:27.

by 2025 when this is meant to be coming on. If the gap is there, if

:19:28.:19:31.

the gap is five years. What will fill it? And at what cost? So I

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think that the cost of this project, possibly the biggest single object,

:19:36.:19:39.

most expensive object in history is too much. But what really concerns

:19:40.:19:44.

me is the opportunity cost that we have here because we can't spend the

:19:45.:19:48.

money twice. We can't have the engineers working on things twice

:19:49.:19:51.

and we can't have the grid producing the electricity to be consumed

:19:52.:19:55.

twice. And we could spend this money better. We could use our expertise

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better and we could use it to develop an industrial strategy which

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this Government has said is part of its new strategy. But that

:20:05.:20:07.

industrial strategy will mean foreign ownership. It will mean

:20:08.:20:11.

foreign investment and it will mean foreign profit and indeed, we --

:20:12.:20:14.

instead, we could be developing the home-grown industries that would see

:20:15.:20:19.

our country flourish, investing in clean carbon capture, investing in

:20:20.:20:24.

offshore wind, investing in storage, investing in solar. These things

:20:25.:20:28.

would all be better spent. So can I ask the Secretary of State to invest

:20:29.:20:32.

in the energy of the future, not the energy of the past? Mr Speaker, I'm

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grateful for the courteous words that the Honourable Gentleman

:20:38.:20:41.

started the words with and he started talking about investing in

:20:42.:20:43.

the future energy sources rather than the past. I would point out to

:20:44.:20:50.

him that given the SNP's record of energy forecasts in recent months

:20:51.:20:53.

that perhaps they might keep their crystal balls to themselves, if I

:20:54.:20:59.

can put it that way! And again, in terms of understanding the

:21:00.:21:04.

injunction that the Honourable Gentleman gives to invested review.

:21:05.:21:07.

It is very important and he will know that Scotland has a very high

:21:08.:21:11.

proportion of renewable investment. But I'm confused by his party's

:21:12.:21:16.

position on this. Because the SNP, as I understand it, has stood on a

:21:17.:21:21.

platform of nuclear-free Scotland, but it seems to be with their

:21:22.:21:25.

fingers crossed behind their back because they're happy to rely on the

:21:26.:21:34.

two nuclear power stations funk functioning in Scotland which are

:21:35.:21:38.

producing low carbon electricity. The former lead of the party wrote

:21:39.:21:43.

to EDF to say that he was happy to extend the life of the power plants

:21:44.:21:47.

well into the 2020s. So he wants to condemn his cake and eat it and then

:21:48.:21:51.

have another slice, it seems to be. In terms of the point that he made

:21:52.:21:56.

about overseas velt, we do want to attract over -- investment, we do

:21:57.:22:00.

want to attract overseas investment, a vote of confidence in this country

:22:01.:22:05.

that investors are working with us to have this major upgrade of our

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infrastructure. We welcome that across different sectors and he's

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wrong that this is at the expense of opportunities that we have in this

:22:16.:22:18.

country. Because, of course, one of the features of this deal is that it

:22:19.:22:22.

doesn't burden the public balance sheet and the Chancellor and the

:22:23.:22:26.

chief secretary have been wise to make sure that the UK balance cheat

:22:27.:22:31.

remains able to support other investments because this is provided

:22:32.:22:36.

through that. Mr Speaker, thank you. With your indulgence, please could I

:22:37.:22:40.

thank the Secretary of State and my Rt Honerable friend for making

:22:41.:22:44.

exactly the right decision in how important it is that the Bridgewater

:22:45.:22:50.

and West Somerset constituency. I ib invite the Secretary of State to

:22:51.:22:58.

visit the the Hinkley power station and look at what we need to build at

:22:59.:23:04.

Cannington. But future to the letter that I sent him, that we need the

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last bit of funding to ensure that the infrastructure to deal with this

:23:09.:23:13.

in the local area is up to scratch so we can deliver the power plant on

:23:14.:23:17.

time and on budget to the benefit of the United Kingdom. Can I return the

:23:18.:23:22.

compliment and thank my honourable friend for his level-headedness and

:23:23.:23:26.

patience while the review has been conducted. It is an extremely

:23:27.:23:33.

important investment for his area. I am looking forward greatly to coming

:23:34.:23:37.

with him to visit Hinkley and he's absolutely right that investments

:23:38.:23:41.

such as the college that will provide these skills that will going

:23:42.:23:46.

to charge ahead the whole of the south-west and the rest of the

:23:47.:23:49.

country, the supply chain extends to all parts of the United Kingdom and

:23:50.:23:55.

my honourable friend for Suffolk Coastal will also be a beneficiary

:23:56.:23:59.

of this. It does require an upgrade to the local infrastructure and I

:24:00.:24:04.

will respond to the LEP on that. I had a very positive conversation

:24:05.:24:09.

with the Somerset Chamber of Commerce earlier this week who were

:24:10.:24:13.

very clear that the benefits of what was then the proposal would be

:24:14.:24:18.

considerable and game-changing for Somerset. He will be aware that

:24:19.:24:24.

Britain's two most respected economy and finance publications, the

:24:25.:24:28.

Financial Times and the Economist have both out very stronkly against

:24:29.:24:33.

Hinkley on value for money and on energy grants with the Economist

:24:34.:24:36.

describing it just last month as a white elephant before it is even

:24:37.:24:40.

built. Can he confirm that nothing he has announced today is an

:24:41.:24:44.

improvement on the dreadful deal negotiated by the former chancellor

:24:45.:24:47.

on guaranteed price? Absolutely dreadful. Well, I don't agree with

:24:48.:24:52.

the Honourable Gentleman. I think that it is a good deal and it

:24:53.:24:57.

secures 7% of our energy into the future and it incumbent on him and

:24:58.:25:02.

his honourable friends to say that given that the 20% of nuclear

:25:03.:25:05.

capacity will be decommissioned over the next ten years, how are they

:25:06.:25:09.

going to replace it if they're not going to be forward looking and make

:25:10.:25:12.

positive decisions like we've made. Can I welcome my Rt Honerable

:25:13.:25:16.

friend's statement which is good news for the sector and my

:25:17.:25:20.

constituents in Brad well-on Sea. Can I assure him that my

:25:21.:25:28.

constituents welcome the prospect of Chinese investment with the long

:25:29.:25:33.

history of nuclear investment. Does he agree that any nuclear power

:25:34.:25:38.

station will be staffed by British employees and that the cyber

:25:39.:25:44.

security evaluation centre, which he says is technology provided by

:25:45.:25:49.

Huawei, provides a good precedent for providing security concerns? My

:25:50.:25:55.

Rt Honerable friend is right. And it seems that it is important to

:25:56.:26:00.

welcome overseas investment but we should have a regime of powers that

:26:01.:26:05.

other economies benefit from. That is something that mature countries

:26:06.:26:08.

would expect to have and that is what we're going to have as a result

:26:09.:26:13.

of the changes. Mr Speaker, having pressed the pause button, why is the

:26:14.:26:17.

Secretary of State now pressing the fast forward button? Doesn't he

:26:18.:26:21.

recognise that this project does not represent value for money, as the FT

:26:22.:26:26.

have pointed out? Does he accept that the cost to consumers has gone

:26:27.:26:31.

from ?6 billion to ?30 billion and that now, his Government are willing

:26:32.:26:34.

to put in public subsidies - something that they said under

:26:35.:26:37.

Coalition would not happen. And of course, this is happening at a time

:26:38.:26:41.

when the cost of renewables is plummeting? No, Mr Speaker. I've

:26:42.:26:46.

said that the construction costs are entirely financed by the private

:26:47.:26:50.

investors in this site. And again, I think that it is important that we

:26:51.:26:55.

do have a long-term, consistent approach to energy policy. And I

:26:56.:26:59.

think that in so far as this could be cross-party, I think that that is

:27:00.:27:03.

beneficial. It is especially ironic that two Liberal Democrat energy

:27:04.:27:07.

secretaries were closely involved in the negotiation of the deal. We have

:27:08.:27:11.

a different view already. Mr Speaker. Could my Rt Honerable

:27:12.:27:18.

friend confirm that at the end of its life, this new power plant will

:27:19.:27:22.

have generated the most expensive energy in the history of energy

:27:23.:27:26.

generation. Can you tell us if you agree with the National Audit Office

:27:27.:27:31.

that in its lifetime, consumers will have ended up subsidising EDF to the

:27:32.:27:35.

tune of $30 billion. And what's going to happen to the mountains of

:27:36.:27:40.

nuclear waste that this will generate? What I will say is that

:27:41.:27:45.

the securing for 60 years, a reliable source of energy is a good

:27:46.:27:52.

investment in the future of stability for our energy supplies

:27:53.:27:56.

and that's worth having. And it is impossible to know what the

:27:57.:27:58.

alternatives would be during that time and we have seen very volatile

:27:59.:28:05.

energy prices. Sir Winston Churchill's policy on energy was

:28:06.:28:07.

that diversity and diversity alone was the key. I think that that is

:28:08.:28:13.

the right approach. When it comes to decommissioning, as I said in my

:28:14.:28:18.

earlier answer, this is provided for explicitly in the contract. EDF say

:28:19.:28:24.

that this will mean 1,500 jobs at offices in Bristol as well as the

:28:25.:28:27.

jobs associated with the plant and I'm meeting with them on Monday and

:28:28.:28:31.

going down to Hinkley to discuss that. But these are incredibly

:28:32.:28:34.

expensive jobs given what we've already heard about the deal. Does

:28:35.:28:37.

the minister really think that this is value for money? And would it

:28:38.:28:41.

perhaps not be better spent investing in the renewable sector,

:28:42.:28:44.

which would mean jobs in the south-west. I do and I'm slightly

:28:45.:28:48.

confused to the demeanour of the party opposite who, it seemed in the

:28:49.:28:53.

rather confusing reply of the shadow minister, to be welcoming the

:28:54.:28:59.

project going ahead. Certainly, the trade unions in the south-west and

:29:00.:29:03.

across the country, which I would imagine the honourable lady speaks

:29:04.:29:07.

to, are very positive. The National secretary for energy for the GMB

:29:08.:29:11.

said "giving a thumbs up to Hinkley is vital to fill the growing hole in

:29:12.:29:18.

the UK's energy needs." Frances O'Grady welcomed it. I think when

:29:19.:29:23.

she goes back to her constituency, she might talk to some of the unions

:29:24.:29:27.

who are delighted on behalf of their members. Thank you Mr Speaker. Can I

:29:28.:29:32.

welcome this announcement that it brings ?465 million worth of

:29:33.:29:35.

contracts to south-west businesses and a ?4 billion boost to the

:29:36.:29:38.

south-west economy. But would be the minister agree, or the Secretary of

:29:39.:29:42.

State agree that we've got to look at the decisions in the context and

:29:43.:29:46.

the fact that we have a fleet of nuclear power stations from the '60s

:29:47.:29:50.

and '70s that are going to close over the next ten years and these

:29:51.:29:53.

decisions aren't about either or, it's that we need both? That is

:29:54.:29:56.

exactly why long-term planning is essential. We have around 20%, 19%

:29:57.:30:02.

of our electricity generated by nuclear power. If we don't renew it,

:30:03.:30:06.

it will fall to 2% by 2030. It seems to be the prudent thing to do to get

:30:07.:30:12.

on with replacing it. Thank you Mr Speaker. I welcome the decision

:30:13.:30:16.

that's been taken. It's been a long time coming and it's a shame that

:30:17.:30:20.

it's been delayed over and over again. My constituency has more that

:30:21.:30:26.

will be built hopefully in the not too distant future, which is

:30:27.:30:29.

incredibly important for economic development. Can the Secretary of

:30:30.:30:33.

State assure me that the future nuclear programme will not be beset

:30:34.:30:37.

by delay after delay after delay. One of the reasons why we're so keen

:30:38.:30:43.

to inaugurate this new programme of nuclear engineering in this country

:30:44.:30:49.

is to be able to replace the nuclear power stations that have been

:30:50.:30:52.

decommissioned but to build up in communities like hers, the skills

:30:53.:30:55.

that can make a valuable contribution to local life and to

:30:56.:30:59.

our national economy. Mr Speaker. I welcome the building of the new

:31:00.:31:04.

fleet or the starting of the new fleet of nuclear power stations. The

:31:05.:31:09.

opportunity that it provides for British manufacturing. Will my Rt

:31:10.:31:13.

Honerable friend do all he can to ensure that in the deals, we'll buy

:31:14.:31:20.

the best of British? Indeed, I've agreed with EDF in the last 24 hours

:31:21.:31:26.

that they have made a commitment to me that 64%, by value, of the

:31:27.:31:32.

contept, will be spent with UK companies, which -- content, will be

:31:33.:31:37.

spent with UK companies which shows the tangible benefit to the economy.

:31:38.:31:41.

The minister said that the Hinkley decision won't burden the national

:31:42.:31:44.

balance sheet, so could he clarify the status of the offer made by the

:31:45.:31:50.

previous chancellor of the exchequer to give EDF a Treasury guarantee of

:31:51.:31:56.

?2 billion to supplement the company's liquidity and something

:31:57.:31:59.

that they say puts the taxpayer at risk. I'm delighted to answer that.

:32:00.:32:04.

EDF have confirmed that they will not be taking up that ?2 billion

:32:05.:32:09.

guarantee so that the taxpayer is fully insulated from the cost of

:32:10.:32:17.

construction. I welcome the Secretary of State's statement

:32:18.:32:21.

today. Can he confirm that he will work with businesses and the Chamber

:32:22.:32:25.

of Commerce in the UK to build on this nuclear partnership and attract

:32:26.:32:29.

new business into the UK? I will, indeed. We do want to have good

:32:30.:32:37.

investment opportunities for countries around the world and China

:32:38.:32:40.

right across the United Kingdom has been an important and valued source

:32:41.:32:44.

of investment and it's important that we build on it. In light of the

:32:45.:32:50.

announcement today, is the Secretary of State now admitting that when the

:32:51.:32:54.

Government entered into the original contract, they failed to protect

:32:55.:32:58.

national security and critical infrastructure? You know what I

:32:59.:33:03.

would say to the honourable lady. Despite the injunction of her

:33:04.:33:09.

colleague on the front bench is that taking the opportunity seriously to

:33:10.:33:13.

review before signatures were given has allowed us to improve the

:33:14.:33:16.

security of the arrangements. That seems to be a wholly good thing that

:33:17.:33:21.

I hope she'd welcome. Mr Speaker, the Secretary of State is right to

:33:22.:33:26.

point out that nuclear energy provides a valuable part of UK

:33:27.:33:29.

energy security. But that's only provided we have the fuel in order

:33:30.:33:33.

to put in them. The fuel for reactors in the UK are made in the

:33:34.:33:36.

constituency and filed. Can the Secretary of State assure me that

:33:37.:33:40.

all efforts will be made to ensure that nuclear fuel, four new reactors

:33:41.:33:45.

for UK will be made in the UK where at all possible? Indeed and I had

:33:46.:33:52.

he's be happy to visit my honourable friend's constituency to see for

:33:53.:33:55.

myself the production there. I very much welcome the review but I've got

:33:56.:34:00.

to say that I'm astonished that a review of the strike price was not

:34:01.:34:05.

part of it. A strike price that will close to ?120 per mega-Watt hour and

:34:06.:34:11.

rising with inflation. Can I ask the Secretary of State, was there

:34:12.:34:15.

serious examination of the cost for bill payers as par of the review? Of

:34:16.:34:21.

course, we looked at every component part and for a new nuclear power

:34:22.:34:25.

stationing the first in a generation for this country, to have it

:34:26.:34:29.

constructed at no risk to the taxpayer or the bill pair, I think

:34:30.:34:34.

is a considerable achievement and represents good value. Mr Speaker,

:34:35.:34:38.

this is good news for my constituency as it means now that

:34:39.:34:41.

we're going to have a third nuclear power station built. Good news

:34:42.:34:45.

travels fast. I've already had the local radio station desperate to get

:34:46.:34:49.

an interview and also to congratulate the Secretary of State

:34:50.:34:52.

for all of the hard work of what he's done for my constituents. Would

:34:53.:34:56.

he agree with me that we could meet together very shortly to have a

:34:57.:35:00.

meeting of how to speed up the five proposed reactors in the future? And

:35:01.:35:05.

also would he help me as quickly as he possibly can? I would be very

:35:06.:35:08.

happy as always to meet my honourable friend and I consider the

:35:09.:35:15.

invitation accepted. Mr Speaker, we have an excellent Secretary of State

:35:16.:35:19.

and he's come to this House and made a very full statement. But... He

:35:20.:35:26.

gave details of the statement quite rightly to the Opposition spokesman

:35:27.:35:30.

and the SNP statement, but he also gave it in advance to the BBC. I

:35:31.:35:35.

read all of this on the BBC website. That's not how this House works. And

:35:36.:35:42.

it may be that -- precious spin doctors are still prevalent in

:35:43.:35:46.

departments. That has got to stop. The House has to be informed first

:35:47.:35:49.

and would the Secretary agree, that is the convention of this house? I

:35:50.:35:54.

understand the point that my Rt Honerable friend makes and I hope

:35:55.:35:58.

that he will concede that I've come to the house at the earliest

:35:59.:36:01.

opportunity. Decisions like this have consequences for financial

:36:02.:36:05.

markets and it is the norm to, at the opening of the markets to

:36:06.:36:09.

disclose them. He can be absolutely assured and I'm sure that he will

:36:10.:36:15.

accept this, that my sense of responsibility to this House is very

:36:16.:36:19.

clear m my mind, but we need to have an orderly conduct of business when

:36:20.:36:23.

it comes to important implications of financial markets too. Thank you

:36:24.:36:29.

very much Mr Speaker. I welcome the announcement on golden shares and I

:36:30.:36:35.

also very much support what my Rt Honerable friend said about future

:36:36.:36:38.

British investment perhaps through a UK investment bank and UK pension

:36:39.:36:42.

funds as being very important. But can he confirm to me where the

:36:43.:36:45.

currency risks, particularly on the subsidy payments in the future out

:36:46.:36:53.

of the C if. Ds will arise? The contract is expressed in pounds. And

:36:54.:36:59.

the construction risk is entirely with the investors. I very much

:37:00.:37:06.

welcome the long-term investment in the low carbon energy and the 25,000

:37:07.:37:13.

jobs this will create. Could the skeact confirm EDF's commitment --

:37:14.:37:17.

Secretary of State confirm EDF's commitment to jobs for smaller

:37:18.:37:21.

businesses such as James Fisher Nuclear in my constituency? I'm sure

:37:22.:37:25.

that that particular firm will attest to that. Certainly the

:37:26.:37:30.

Somerset Chamber of Commerce were very clear that the orders that had

:37:31.:37:34.

been placed already during the period of preparation of the site

:37:35.:37:38.

has been very beneficial to that county. Thank you Mr Speaker. This

:37:39.:37:46.

is obviously a massive infrastructure project and I welcome

:37:47.:37:49.

that the Secretary of State has had to say around the opportunities for

:37:50.:37:53.

supply chains and I hope that that will extent to the steel industry

:37:54.:37:57.

and I strongly urge the Secretary of State to get out there and make the

:37:58.:38:01.

case that all of the steel used in this should be British. And can I

:38:02.:38:05.

put in a particular plug for Corby Tubes. Which are of excellent

:38:06.:38:09.

quality, I know. I think that the commitment that EDF have given me

:38:10.:38:15.

that 64% by value of the work will be with UK firms will be of

:38:16.:38:20.

particular benefit to firms such as the one he mentioned and to the

:38:21.:38:23.

supply chain right across the country. I'm grateful to the

:38:24.:38:25.

Secretary of State. Order. Minister of State for the Department

:38:26.:38:55.

of Transport. Mr Speaker, the assessment of the impact of the for

:38:56.:39:03.

transport investment and internationally respected analytical

:39:04.:39:05.

framework for schemes which includes the impact on jobs, growth and

:39:06.:39:11.

regeneration. May I welcome the minister to this place and say how

:39:12.:39:15.

pleased I am that the department has the benefit of his experience and

:39:16.:39:19.

wisdom of my Lincolnshire colleague, and I'm not just saying that because

:39:20.:39:24.

I'd like his help with the road, please!

:39:25.:39:27.

(LAUGHTER) Every day this summer, my

:39:28.:39:32.

constituents, tourists and I had to wait up to 45 minutes to pass

:39:33.:39:36.

through the traffic lights at Horncastle where the very busy A 153

:39:37.:39:42.

crosses the busiest A 158. The single carriageway roads cannot cope

:39:43.:39:45.

with the volume of traffic between the city of Lincoln, the market town

:39:46.:39:51.

of Louth and the east coast. Will my Rt Honerable friend meet me and

:39:52.:39:54.

local councillors to discuss what can be done to get rid of the bottle

:39:55.:39:59.

next, to help local residents and businesses and to encourage even

:40:00.:40:04.

more tourism to the wonderful Lincolnshire coast. The honourable

:40:05.:40:14.

lady is a an articulate campaigner in the interests. She will know that

:40:15.:40:19.

all counties of our great country are dear to my heart, but none more

:40:20.:40:24.

so than my own county of Lincolnshire. I am familiar with

:40:25.:40:28.

this part of the county. I do understand the pressures on the

:40:29.:40:31.

roads there. I will be more than happy to meet her councillors to

:40:32.:40:36.

discuss it. Indeed I will go further, Mr Speaker, because that's

:40:37.:40:39.

alone not good enough. I want to hold a round table meeting with all

:40:40.:40:43.

concerned parties in my department and ask my officials to look at

:40:44.:40:47.

specifically what she said. And if I might say so, her complimentary

:40:48.:40:52.

words were most welcome. She could have added, for future reference,

:40:53.:40:56.

dexterity and determination in the light of recent events, duribility!

:40:57.:41:08.

Will the minister give a firm commitment for high speed 2 to go

:41:09.:41:13.

ahead with a very clear timetable? And will he accelerate work in

:41:14.:41:17.

Trans-Pennine links from Liverpool to Hull so that the UK's economy can

:41:18.:41:22.

be supported and this can assist in the rebalancing of the economy

:41:23.:41:26.

across the whole of the UK? The honourable lady and I, Mr Speaker,

:41:27.:41:31.

were together earlier this week at a meeting discussing a whole range of

:41:32.:41:36.

issues and the takes of the IPPR Report, including the significance

:41:37.:41:41.

of the Trans-Pennine connection. It is very important that we see all of

:41:42.:41:46.

our transport needs, not just in terms of north/south links but also

:41:47.:41:51.

in terms of east/west links and I know a number of members who

:41:52.:41:55.

represent constituencies on the east of England like I do and the west of

:41:56.:41:59.

England like she does to recognise that. I'm more than happy to look at

:42:00.:42:03.

the options. She will know that we are considering a range of ways of

:42:04.:42:07.

making those plings real. She in her role as the select committee

:42:08.:42:10.

chairman will want to test me further on the subjects when no

:42:11.:42:17.

doubt she calls me beforehand. Will my Rt Honerable friend have

:42:18.:42:21.

particular regard to the reports from the Great Eastern and West

:42:22.:42:26.

Anglian task forces chaired by two of his colleagues about the

:42:27.:42:32.

contribution they can make to the future prosperity of the Anglian

:42:33.:42:36.

region so that there can be a reliable rail structure on which the

:42:37.:42:40.

splendid new trains that are to come can run more efficiently? Mr

:42:41.:42:45.

Speaker, as you know, I have a deep regard for the past and my

:42:46.:42:51.

relatively recent past reminds me that the reviewed tested me on these

:42:52.:42:56.

matters in my last incarnation in the Department of Transport when he

:42:57.:42:59.

made similar arguments about the importance of the links. I do look

:43:00.:43:02.

forward to receiving and studying that report and when I do so, I'm

:43:03.:43:06.

more than happy to have further discussions with him on the

:43:07.:43:11.

contents. But no-one can argue that he hasn't made his case powerfully.

:43:12.:43:17.

I hope that the Rt Honerable member realises how lucky he is to have

:43:18.:43:23.

further conversations with the Minister for Transport! Not all of

:43:24.:43:28.

us have that. Infrastructure is important. Which is why that the

:43:29.:43:34.

highways has announced the closure of the A 34. This stretch of road is

:43:35.:43:39.

the main access route to the Freeport shopping centre,

:43:40.:43:42.

much-needed works are required, but it's due to start next week until

:43:43.:43:47.

December 23rd at a cris mass shopping centre. Will the minister

:43:48.:43:51.

endeavour to work with me to work with the Highways Agency to see the

:43:52.:44:01.

error of their ways? If I might make a general point rather than

:44:02.:44:05.

specific. The first day I was in this particular job, I met the

:44:06.:44:08.

Highways England, as they're now called and was very clear that one

:44:09.:44:12.

of the things that they have to do better is to give proper notice of

:44:13.:44:15.

plans, which they have and to communicate with all interested

:44:16.:44:18.

parties, including members of this house, and to be very clear about

:44:19.:44:22.

the length of time, particularly with decisions they make and their

:44:23.:44:26.

implications will take. And obviously the case in point is

:44:27.:44:29.

there. On the specific, I wasn't aware of it, but this is what I'm

:44:30.:44:33.

going to do. I will meet the Highways England today, this day,

:44:34.:44:36.

and I will raise that particular issue and by tomorrow, I will speak

:44:37.:44:46.

to the honourable lady about it. My Rt Honerable friend is decks

:44:47.:44:50.

terrous, determined and extremely distinguished. The A 34 is one of

:44:51.:44:55.

the most important roads for the company taking freight from the

:44:56.:44:59.

south coast to the Midlands. It is becoming increasingly dangerous. Two

:45:00.:45:04.

recent crashes caused fatalities. Will my Rt Honerable friend, now

:45:05.:45:08.

that I've called him determined, hold a round table with me and other

:45:09.:45:12.

Oxfordshire MPs to discuss the safety and free running of the A 34?

:45:13.:45:19.

My table grows ever more round! (LAUGHTER)

:45:20.:45:26.

I'm none the worse for it by the way. But I am familiar with that

:45:27.:45:32.

road. He will know that it is a scheme which has had a number of

:45:33.:45:36.

suggestions made for its improvement. It is important that

:45:37.:45:42.

the house understands that there are always demands on different roads

:45:43.:45:45.

and different ideas about how those demands be met. And the process that

:45:46.:45:51.

we're enjoidge gauged is that we -- engaged in is to study it carefully

:45:52.:46:00.

and the kind of consultation that the Honourable Gentleman recommends

:46:01.:46:04.

and I'm happy to talk to him. The Government talks about rebalancing

:46:05.:46:06.

the economy and it's interesting that the minister just said about

:46:07.:46:09.

improving east/west links in the north. Can I make one suggestion

:46:10.:46:14.

that I hope he'll take forward. Can we extend the M 65 all the way to

:46:15.:46:18.

Scotch Corner. This needs to be done. There are millions of people

:46:19.:46:23.

in the north-east who need connecting directly to the

:46:24.:46:27.

north-west in the Manchester region and this would be vital to rebalance

:46:28.:46:33.

the economy. Again, the Honourable Gentleman is known for making that

:46:34.:46:38.

case and the case of the links that would be sufficient to give further

:46:39.:46:46.

boosts to his economy. There have been scurrilous suggestions that the

:46:47.:46:49.

northern powerhouse has falted in some way. Let me tell you this. The

:46:50.:46:57.

northern powerhouse is not only alive and well, it will thrive under

:46:58.:47:02.

this Government and that will include the kind of infrastructural

:47:03.:47:05.

investments necessary, not only to provide transport links, but to

:47:06.:47:09.

boost economic growth, build skills and spread opportunity. That's the

:47:10.:47:12.

kind of Government we are, Mr Speaker. A Government with big ideas

:47:13.:47:17.

that puts them to action for the benefit of our people. Number two Mr

:47:18.:47:30.

Speaker. Thank you, following the this, we have remobilised the team

:47:31.:47:35.

and working towards the final design for the enhancement programme as set

:47:36.:47:40.

out in the review last year. Work to increased capacity on the route has

:47:41.:47:45.

already started. Mr Speaker, the East Midlands regions have the

:47:46.:47:49.

lowest level of rail spending per head in every one of the last six

:47:50.:47:53.

years. We've discovered that the pausing and unpausing of the elect

:47:54.:48:00.

riification of the Midlan Mainline wasted almost ?40 million and cost

:48:01.:48:06.

countless jobs in the supply chain. Now there are rumours that it could

:48:07.:48:10.

be cans EDF have confirmeded again. Can he take this opportunity to

:48:11.:48:13.

confirm that the line will be electrified all the way to

:48:14.:48:17.

Nottingham and Sheffield by 2023? And will he commit to real action to

:48:18.:48:24.

ensure there will are no further delays or broken promises? I

:48:25.:48:29.

congratulate you on carrying that out when she might return to the

:48:30.:48:33.

front bench to continue in that role. She makes an important point

:48:34.:48:36.

about the importance of the east line to the East Midlands. In my

:48:37.:48:40.

view, the supply chain in the East Midlands doesn't just depend on the

:48:41.:48:44.

one project, but the investment of 660 trains for East Anglia is just

:48:45.:48:47.

one way of safeguarding that particular supply chain. But the

:48:48.:48:51.

wider points that she makes about the work on this line is that it is

:48:52.:48:55.

worth bearing in mind that we've already completed ten kilometres of

:48:56.:48:59.

new line in this stretch. Nearly nine kilometres of the new existing

:49:00.:49:03.

line improved as well. Over 3,000 new piles put into place. Ten

:49:04.:49:09.

kilometres of new earth works. Ridges, a new via duct, so the work

:49:10.:49:13.

is ongoing on this particular line and we will be looking to improve

:49:14.:49:18.

capacity as well through the franchising arrangements. I'm

:49:19.:49:21.

delighted to hear that the Northern Powerhouse is alive and well and

:49:22.:49:25.

would the minister agree with me that if it is to have real effect,

:49:26.:49:29.

then it is important that the investment in connectivity, not just

:49:30.:49:33.

between cities but also between the towns of the north, is made? And I'd

:49:34.:49:37.

like to thank ministers for the initial investment in the by pass,

:49:38.:49:41.

but would ministers also look at the business case for the reopening of

:49:42.:49:47.

the railway station? As someone born and bred in a town very close to one

:49:48.:49:54.

of the salt town, I am very well in my 40 years of the connectivity at

:49:55.:49:59.

the heart of Cheshire. I know the road good and the planned station

:50:00.:50:03.

and I look forward with working with you on the business case. Before the

:50:04.:50:08.

pause, the elect riification was due to be completed by 2020. That is

:50:09.:50:13.

also the date when all trains have to comply with the new disability

:50:14.:50:17.

lem slayings. What is the Government now going to do between 2020 and

:50:18.:50:22.

2023 when the old trains on the line with the slam doors don't comply

:50:23.:50:26.

with the legislation? Is he going to abandon the legislation or put in a

:50:27.:50:31.

temporary rolling stop? We take accessibility issues on the railways

:50:32.:50:34.

extremely seriously and the gentleman is right to point out the

:50:35.:50:37.

commitments that we made. We're currently examining how best to

:50:38.:50:41.

increase capacity at the line, particularly at peak hours when

:50:42.:50:45.

there is a risk of standing on some stretches so we're looking carefully

:50:46.:50:51.

at how to deliver on this. In the plans to re-enter guise the

:50:52.:50:56.

electriification, can the pair say that the stations in my

:50:57.:51:00.

constituencies, haven't been missed out of the original one? I am not

:51:01.:51:04.

familiar with that particular branch line at this stage but I will

:51:05.:51:08.

certainly look into it and discuss it with my officials and write to

:51:09.:51:13.

the Honourable Gentleman. The faster line speeds that electriification

:51:14.:51:17.

will bring, will the minister look to increase the half hourly service

:51:18.:51:22.

to Keterring, that was reduced to half hourly? There are always a

:51:23.:51:27.

number of timetabling and scheduling opportunities that come about

:51:28.:51:30.

through any reprofiling of the line and the changes of the works in it

:51:31.:51:34.

so we will, of course, feed that into all of the consultations that

:51:35.:51:39.

occur as to how best to make shoes use of the reprofiling of the line.

:51:40.:51:49.

Mr Speaker, Mr Speaker, the safety of the public is the top priority

:51:50.:51:53.

and we're looking to understand the safe use of drones and we're

:51:54.:51:56.

continuing to adapt and strengthen the use of regulations of the use of

:51:57.:51:59.

drones, the current regulatory framework and the clear rules on

:52:00.:52:03.

safety and strong penalties for misuse with the commercial

:52:04.:52:07.

commission system which ensures responsible use of the emerging

:52:08.:52:11.

technology. That thank you Mr Speaker. I asked him what assessment

:52:12.:52:15.

he made of the effect on aviation safety. How real is the risk? I know

:52:16.:52:20.

that he knows it was discussed at the trade union Congress this week

:52:21.:52:23.

and there's great concern about it, but we really need to know what the

:52:24.:52:26.

risk is and what steps the Government is taking before we end

:52:27.:52:31.

up with the inevitable ministerial statement about lessons learned.

:52:32.:52:33.

Well, the Honourable Gentleman is right. He's right about the TUC

:52:34.:52:39.

discussing it yesterday and we had a word about that earlier. They have a

:52:40.:52:43.

right to raise this too, because of course, it is an emerging technology

:52:44.:52:49.

and the risk is dynamic. We need to keep constant analysis in place

:52:50.:52:53.

about what that poses and it's not just irresponsible use. It could be

:52:54.:53:00.

manelevent use. They could be used by all kinds of agents to do all

:53:01.:53:05.

kinds of things. So the assurance that I give him is that I will make

:53:06.:53:09.

sure that my department is continuing that an l a sis, making

:53:10.:53:14.

sure that the -- analysis, making sure that the regulatory framework

:53:15.:53:18.

is fit for purpose for the analysis and the best thing for me to do with

:53:19.:53:23.

that is to come back to the House and give regular reports on how

:53:24.:53:28.

that's going. The Honourable Gentleman always takes a diligent

:53:29.:53:32.

interest in the affairs of the house and he's raised an important issue

:53:33.:53:41.

which is entirely bipartisan but one that we need to take importantly. My

:53:42.:53:45.

constituent tells me that drones are not only an issue of danger to

:53:46.:53:55.

aircraft, but also it affects privacy, it affects copyright law.

:53:56.:53:59.

And also, is a danger to people who might be visiting the castle and

:54:00.:54:03.

then the drone running out of power and falling on people's heads. So

:54:04.:54:09.

when are we going to see tighter instructions and education about how

:54:10.:54:15.

to use drones? Intellectual property rights, Mr Speaker, incidentally, is

:54:16.:54:18.

the phrase I was looking for earlier. And you found it! Just to

:54:19.:54:25.

be absolutely clear, Mr Speaker, we do take drones very seriously as I

:54:26.:54:29.

said in answer to the first question. And anyone who "reklessly

:54:30.:54:39.

permits their drone -- recklessly permits their drone to cause damage

:54:40.:54:43.

to property or person can face a fine of imprisonment"". So we're not

:54:44.:54:47.

taking this lightly. But the point that we made is that because this

:54:48.:54:51.

tech the House of Lordsingy is evolving, it's very important that

:54:52.:54:55.

we do proper work to look at the scale and type of danger we face and

:54:56.:55:01.

then the regulatory framework can be fit for purpose. Thank you Mr

:55:02.:55:04.

Speaker. Just wondering if the department have any co-operation

:55:05.:55:11.

with the MoD in relation to a security and the threat that the

:55:12.:55:19.

drones pose for security? Indeed. Obviously given that I've recently

:55:20.:55:22.

arrived back from the Home Office where I was the minister for

:55:23.:55:26.

security, that was something that the MoD and the Home Office took

:55:27.:55:32.

very seriously indeed. So he can be absolutely sure that across

:55:33.:55:35.

Government, we're looking at this matter because, as I said earlier,

:55:36.:55:41.

it's not just about irresponsible use, it could be manolevent use like

:55:42.:55:49.

you imply. Mr Speaker, with your permission, I will answer this

:55:50.:55:53.

question together with question 7. The Government is committed to

:55:54.:55:56.

delivering the important infrastructure projects that this

:55:57.:56:00.

country needs, including delivering runway capacity in the south-east on

:56:01.:56:04.

the timetable set by the Airport's Commission. We're currently

:56:05.:56:08.

undertaking further work, including assurance of the airport's

:56:09.:56:11.

commissions evidence and on airport quality and the decision will be

:56:12.:56:17.

made shortly. The new Transport Secretary, a fierce advocate of the

:56:18.:56:24.

UK exiting the EU has done more than enough already to wreak economic

:56:25.:56:27.

havoc. Because he could take the new position to mitigate some of the

:56:28.:56:31.

damage to putting an end to the stud runway debacle? And if not, will he

:56:32.:56:35.

apologise to businesses and commuters in Scotland for putting

:56:36.:56:39.

their economic interests on the line? Mr Speaker, I would remind the

:56:40.:56:46.

honourable lady that some of the things said about our economy have

:56:47.:56:50.

not proved to be the case. And that actually, under this Government, our

:56:51.:56:53.

economy continues to do well. What I'd also say to her is that this

:56:54.:56:58.

Government retains and will always retain a commitment to the economy

:56:59.:57:02.

and the people of Scotland as part of one United Kingdom and the

:57:03.:57:06.

decision we seek to take on runway capacity in the south-east, whatever

:57:07.:57:09.

it may be, Mr Speaker, will be the decision that is also designed to

:57:10.:57:14.

benefit the whole United Kingdom by improving our connectivity so the

:57:15.:57:19.

world. Thank you Mr Speaker. When reminded of his words, "no ifs, no

:57:20.:57:24.

buts, no third runway". The previous Prime Minister said this summer. I

:57:25.:57:27.

think the current position from the Government is October for a decision

:57:28.:57:31.

on Heathrow, although the current Prime Minister seems to be erasing

:57:32.:57:36.

all evidence of her previous position to this. After ?20 million

:57:37.:57:40.

and the Davis debacle, it does look like it's going to be a free vote.

:57:41.:57:44.

Can you confirm or deny this? Because to my constituents, it looks

:57:45.:57:49.

like it is protracted. Order, we do need shorter questions. Mr Speaker,

:57:50.:57:53.

the honourable lady is going to have to wait for us to set out the plans.

:57:54.:57:57.

I've said today, we're committed to taking the decision shortly. I

:57:58.:58:00.

regard this as an important decision for our nation, one we need to get

:58:01.:58:04.

on with. We have, of course, seen a significant change in the

:58:05.:58:07.

administration across the summer. It is right and proper that the Prime

:58:08.:58:11.

Minister and I are sufficiently prepared to take the decision we

:58:12.:58:14.

need to take and we will make sure that we are suitably prepared. Will

:58:15.:58:20.

my Rt Honerable friend agree with me that if we want to keep London as

:58:21.:58:26.

the hub airport for western Europe, it is crucial that we deal with the

:58:27.:58:33.

capacity problems that currently affect Heathrow in particular? This

:58:34.:58:39.

saga has been going on for so long. Can I ask my Rt Honerable friend

:58:40.:58:46.

that he ensure that is we don't have any further delays in reaching the

:58:47.:58:50.

conclusion on the Davis Recommendation, and that that can I

:58:51.:58:55.

tell him - there is only one obvious answer, and that that is Heathrow.

:58:56.:58:59.

Mr Speaker, as you know there, are delivering opinions across this

:59:00.:59:02.

House. It is right and proper that the Government looks at all three

:59:03.:59:07.

options recommended to us by the Davis Commission in a way, to assess

:59:08.:59:12.

the strengths and weaknesses of what is offered and take the right

:59:13.:59:15.

zpition in the interests of our nation and I can -- in the right way

:59:16.:59:20.

in the interest of our nation and I can assure you that that is what

:59:21.:59:24.

we'll do. As Britain leaves the European Union, we'll have to

:59:25.:59:27.

develop more markets in Asia and the Far East. That will mean more

:59:28.:59:33.

passenger traffic and freight traffic. Is it then not possible

:59:34.:59:39.

that we preserve Manston as an airport in the national interest? Mr

:59:40.:59:44.

Speaker, I obviously understand how people feel about the future of

:59:45.:59:48.

Manston and I know how controversial it is and has been. I can simply say

:59:49.:59:53.

to him that this Government would be perfectly supportive of proposals to

:59:54.:59:56.

develop a freight hub at Manston, but it has to be a matter for the

:59:57.:00:00.

local community, the owners and the local authority and I hope that the

:00:01.:00:04.

right decision in the interest in of the nation.

:00:05.:00:10.

MUSIC: Powerful by Major Lazer

:00:11.:00:17.

Business, energy and industrial strategy secretary Greg Clark MP makes a statement on Hinkley Point C, followed by highlights of Transport Questions from members of the House of Commons, from Thursday 15 September.


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