Theresa May’s magic money tree has just managed to find another £1.5bn out of thin air

Theresa May Budget Tax

The near-omnipresent ‘Magic Money Tree’ used by Theresa May’s Conservative Party has appeared, again. And this time, it’s managed to find another £1.5bn out of thin air; in the same way it produced that amount to fund the Tories’ confidence and supply deal with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

We gotta install nuclear reactors

On 15 September 2016, May officially gave the go-ahead for the controversial Hinkley Point C nuclear power station. The new plant in Somerset was initially billed at £18bn. It is being built by French energy company EDF, and financed by EDF with the help of the Chinese government. The latter agreed to this in return for the approval of a Chinese-led and designed project at Bradwell in Essex.

But now, EDF has said that the cost of Hinkley looks set to rise by around £1.5bn. It says this is due to having to change the plans to meet “the requirements of the British regulators” and that the overall price tag will now be around £19.6bn. But if the project takes any longer than planned, the additional cost could actually be £2.2bn; pushing the total costs for Hinkley to £20.3bn.

Those running the project look set to pay the extra cost for now, but this will eventually be passed onto taxpaying consumers.

That ain’t working

Anti-nuclear campaigners have hit back at the news. Greenpeace UK’s John Sauven said:

Hinkley is already over time and over budget after just a few months of building work. Today’s news is yet another damning indictment of the government’s agreement to go ahead with this project.

But it would seem that May’s magic money tree is always available when her friends are involved.

Read on...

That’s the way you do it

As The Canary previously reported, numerous Conservative Party members and politicians financially benefit from Hinkley. For example, Tory peer Lord Patten of Barnes, the former governor of Hong Kong and former Conservative Party Chairman, sits on EDF Energy’s Stakeholder Advisory Panel. On 9 September, Patten co-authored an open letter [paywall] to The Financial Times (FT), calling on May to “press ahead with Hinkley Point”.

Also on the EDF panel is Sir Simon Robertson. He’s another Tory peer, and a party donor to the tune of £765,000. He was knighted in 2010, just after the Tories came to office. Robertson was also Deputy Chairman of HSBC until April 2016. In 2014, HSBC arranged the financial backing for EDF to carry out the project at Hinkley. Robertson also signed the letter in the FT. He is a long-standing member of the Tory ‘Leader’s Group‘. To be a member of this club costs £50,000 a year, providing access to the likes of May and “other senior figures” at exclusive private dinners.

Money for nothing

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, meanwhile, has called Hinkley “the biggest white elephant in British history”. She said it was absurd and disappointing that the deal would proceed just when the government is reducing support for cheaper, safer and more reliable renewable alternatives:

Instead of investing in this eye-wateringly expensive white elephant, the government should be doing all it can to support offshore wind, energy efficiency and innovative new technologies, such as energy storage.

A government spokeswoman said:

The cost of construction, including any overruns, sits with the contractor. Consumers won’t pay a penny until Hinkley is built; it will provide clean, reliable electricity powering six million homes…

And chicks for free?

The spiralling cost of Hinkley is just another example of the Conservative government shunning the idea of cost-cutting austerity when it suits it. While the rest of us have to ‘live within our means’, cash can always be found for keeping the Tories in power, pleasing French energy companies, and fracking, to name but a few. But there’s a common theme with the money the Tories keep finding down the back of the governmental sofa. And it’s that, when it directly benefits them, a Conservative politician can always find the cash somewhere. In this case, it’ll be taxpaying consumers who are forced to foot the bill.

Get Involved!

– Sign the petition against Hinkley Point C.

– Write to your MP to oppose the development.

– Find out when a protest is taking place.

Featured image via YouTube

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed