A general election’s been called – I’m off to buy a lottery ticket

24th Apr 2017

 

In case you didn’t know, there will be a general election on June 8th. From the moment the previous Prime Minister announced he was resigning, I’ve told whoever would listen there would be an early election – it was always glaringly obvious.

When I had lunch the other week, with the current Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman, (who I’ve known for years) I predicted this outcome. He denied it of course. With such foresight, I’m off to buy a lottery ticket.

Since the announcement last week, I have been asked what this might mean for our industry. So here are a few thoughts:-

  1. An increased Conservative majority will give the PM more wriggle-room around Brexit. Newly elected MPs, from seats previously seen as Opposition safe seats, will owe their loyalty to her. That counts for a great deal when compromises are agreed.
  2. I suspect energy prices will come into focus, perhaps with a manifesto commitment to act. What this brings into play are any government levies such as ECO, which the energy companies will blame for their increases.
  3. The smart meter programme timetable will be eased (see above for why) and there may even be calls for a more systematic review.
  4. The 2020 EU renewable targets, although not mandatory, will not be met.
  5. Whilst the 2050 international climate change obligations will stay, I suspect there will be some easing in the pace to make change (no hugging a husky).
  6. If the international aid budget and commitment is under threat, I suspect the same could be true for organisations such as the Climate Change Committee.

Not all of these may come true. And I am not advocating that they do. But after the campaign is over, on June 9th, our industry will once again be dealing with the uncertainty of a new government. Something, frankly, that the energy industry is all too familiar with. As for me, I’ll be spending my lottery winnings!

Best wishes

Mike Foster, CE