Investment experts told MPs last night that bickering between government ministers on energy policy was “undermining” the confidence of business that wanted to pump millions of pounds into the UK economy.

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Their comments, made at a Westminster committee hearing yesterday, match those of East Anglian business leaders who have long complained that public ministerial spats on energy policy have spooked foreign investment into the UK energy sector.

Meanwhile their words come shortly before ministers are due to publish their energy bill, due out next week, which will set the shape of the UK energy market for years to come.

At the end of last month Tory energy minister John Hayes condemned the “peppering” of wind farms across the British countryside, prompting a verbal slap-down from his Liberal Democrat boss, energy secretary Ed Davey.

Mr Davey had previously spoken out in favour of subsidies for wind farms, meanwhile Tory environment secretary Owen Paterson slammed the “soviet style” system of state help.

Giving evidence to the energy and climate change committee yesterday Nick Gardiner senior director at BNP Paribas said: “The difficulty for credit committees and investment committees is understanding the UK context.

“They can’t always make political interpretation. Certainly from my side I’m getting a lot of comment from investors and credit committees saying ‘do I need to be worried’.”

He added: “The general comment would be there is a certain undermining of confidence.”

Meanwhile Ian Temperton, head of advisory at climate change capital, said: “The problem is that those things appear in CEOs’ press clippings.

“I was being told one story about supply chain investors; the UK representatives of foreign investors were being whipped back to their continental capital cities to explain what was going on the UK.

“That’s very unfortunate and at the level of hundreds of millions of billions of pounds decisions.”

However two other experts tempered the criticism, independent energy analyst Peter Atherton, said a political debate over the issue was inevitable, “healthy” and had to take place.

Ian Simm chief executive of Impax Asset Management, said the important thing was not “political certainty” but “policy certainty”, a government having a plan and sticking to it; something he hopes for once the government has passed the energy bill.

He said: “Political certainty is probably something of an oxymoron for me, so we don’t really take account of that. The political confusion around this issue is the secondary problem.”

7 comments

  • Well the Norwegians are laughing their heads off at the Brits, . foot note, Wind Speed Data for Sheringham Shoal a big fat zilch and has been all week, not bad for billion pounds spent.

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    nrg

    Thursday, November 15, 2012

  • Whilst the government have to rely on civil servants feeding them information there will always be problems. We have seen with the incinerator, the Waste Industry is running the show, bigger profits mean more money is used to 'influence decisions' that are good for pockets rather than the people, the environment or the country. Owen Patterson needs a good clear out in Defra, and the Environment Agency needs to be made accountable for its actions rather than do as its told to by Defra. What is going on behind the scenes in this country is shocking.

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    Honest John

    Thursday, November 15, 2012

  • Rather "Pump millions of pounds into the Norwegian Economy"

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    Farquarson-Smythe

    Thursday, November 15, 2012

  • If it looks to good to be true, then it is. We have been "subsidising" foreign investors for too long. They have been getting a return on their money which they could not have got anywhere else. It`s time this nonsense came to an end and we should not be taken in by the crocodile tears of these investment experts who after all are only in it to make as much money as they can.

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    BG

    Thursday, November 15, 2012

  • If they're pumping IN millions of pounds (which I rather doubt), then, for sure, they are pumping OUT TENS of millions; or should that be "siphoning TENS of millions abroad", after paying off people in the UK?

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    T Doff

    Thursday, November 15, 2012

  • google....Norway puts domestic offshore wind on hold.

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    nrg

    Thursday, November 15, 2012

  • The Dutch, the Danes and the \germans are all giving up on wind power as it is too expensive. It ts only the airhead, so called "business leaders" in this country who belive in this rubbish. They couldn't lead a dog up the path !.

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    "V"

    Thursday, November 15, 2012

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