Successive governments have failed on energy policy, IoD survey says

Jessica Morris
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Governments haven't paid enough attention to providing affordable energy (Source: Getty)

The last three governments have continuously failed to deliver an adequate energy policy, according to a damning survey of business leaders released today.

A poll of nearly 1,000 bosses by the Institute of Directors (IoD) found that seven in ten thought the Labour, Coalition and Conservative governments hadn't provided reasonably priced energy. Two-thirds also complained politicians failed to ensure the UK would always be able to keep the lights on.

However, they were more positive about the consecutive governments’ track records on renewables. Around six in 10 agreed they’d been more successful in increasing these energy sources, while 45 per cent were satisfied with their efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

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Dan Lewis, senior infrastructure policy advisor at the IoD, said that the newly-created business and energy department should seize this “ideal moment” to reconsider the direction of energy policy.

The survey suggested business leaders support the government’s focus on increasing the use of renewable energy sources to meet its environmental goals. However, more must be done to realise the two other aims of energy policy, namely security of supply and affordability.

“Renewables are a significant, and growing, source of energy ... but technology based on the weather doesn’t work all of the time, so the UK needs a mix of renewables, nuclear and the cleanest hydrocarbons,” he said.

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The IoD also weighed in on the £18bn Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant, saying that its huge costs meant the government was right “to take one final look before signing the deal off".

The survey showed business leaders harbour mixed feelings towards Hinkley — 53 per cent said it makes strategic sense and less than half think it will increase the UK’s economic competitiveness.

IoD members have consistently supported nuclear, and the survey also showed more than half back fracking.