The UK should have the lowest energy costs in Europe for both households and businesses, the country’s Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party, Theresa May, said this week as she launched her election campaign.
In the election manifesto released late Wednesday, May echoed what industries have long voiced: a successful industrial strategy requires competitive and affordable energy costs, Kallanish Energy reports.
“We want to make sure that the cost of energy in Britain is internationally competitive … So as we upgrade our energy infrastructure, we will do it in an affordable way, consistent with that ambition,” she said.
The strategy to be used is not about “picking winners, propping up failing industries, or bringing back old companies from the dead,” the Prime Minister said. “It is about identifying the industries that are of strategic value to our economy and supporting and promoting them through policies on trade, tax, infrastructure, skills, training, and research and development.”
Terry Scuoler, CEO of EEF, the manufacturers’ organization, applauded the commitment to a comprehensive industrial strategy. “The (Conservative) Party’s commitment to tackling the vastly uncompetitive energy costs now faced by industry is just one example of the importance of this approach. If elected, the Conservative government must work quickly to flesh out these detailed plans and implement them,” he said.
The European Union’s statistics body, Eurostat, said this week the UK’s electricity prices for industrial consumers at the end of 2016 were among the five most expensive in Europe, at €0.128 per kilowatt hour (kWh). Prices, which include taxes and levies, were the highest in Italy (€0.156/kWh) and Germany (€0.149/kWh).
While praising the approach to lower energy costs, Sculer noted May still needs to leave behind the thought of “no deal is better than a bad deal.” He added: “It is business-critical for whoever is the Prime Minister to negotiate a deal that allows free and fair trade between the UK and our largest and most important market. Anything else will be failure.”