China’s investment in the Hinkley Point nuclear power station, confirmed today (Wednesday 20 October), raises serious questions about the financing of future infrastructure projects in the UK.
Unite, the country's largest union, welcomed the deal as giving much needed employment for skilled workers in the south west up to the start date for the Somerset plant to generate electricity, expected to be 2025, and beyond.
Unite said that the final investment decision (FID) on the project by the plant’s constructor EDF Energy should now be made before Christmas.
Unite national officer for energy Kevin Coyne said: "We welcome the news today as securing long-term employment for our skilled members in the region and also contributing to future energy security.
“Although Hinkley Point has successfully raised the finance, this has taken a long time, so we need to ask, as a country, whether this investment model is the best and most cost effective way of financing much needed investment in future UK infrastructure projects.
“It is clear that the private sector struggles to provide the necessary money for these large scale schemes.
“The case for greater government involvement in terms of long-term finance in such projects becomes clearer by the day. Hinkley Point is being built and financed by two non-UK entities.
“There is no room for complacency and the UK is not out of the woods in terms of a strategic energy blueprint and this is something that energy secretary Amber Rudd needs to tackle as a matter of urgency.
“Unite has repeatedly warned that business and domestic consumers face the very real prospect of power cuts and the lights going out in the years to come, if such a strategy is not forthcoming very soon.”
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble in the Unite press office on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940.
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.