Bloomberg News

Cameron to Push Energy, Building Projects to Spur U.K. Growth

October 17, 2012

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron is preparing legislation to spur energy and building companies to invest, seeking to spur economic growth.

The Growth and Infrastructure Bill will make it easier for electricity-generating companies to alter designs mid-project in order to incorporate new technology, without restarting the planning process. It will reduce the requirements on builders of large housing projects and the amount of paperwork needed for planning applications. It will also implement Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne’s plan to allow employees to swap some of their rights for shares in their company.

“The bill we are publishing today is all about helping our country compete in the global race and building an aspiration nation where we back those who want to get on in life,” Cameron said in an e-mailed statement. “We are slashing unnecessary bureaucracy, giving business the confidence to invest, unlocking big infrastructure projects and supporting hardworking people to realize their dreams.”

As evidence that its strategy is working, the prime minister’s office pointed to an announcement by Land Securities Group Plc (LAND) today that it will go ahead with a 350 million-pound ($565 million) development project near Victoria Station in central London.

Energy Secretary Ed Davey is today due to tell a Confederation of British Industry meeting about details of his forthcoming Energy Bill. Cameron yesterday surprised his own aides by announcing the government will change the law to tackle rising energy bills, forcing companies to charge each customer at the lowest rate for their type of use.

Pollution Rules

The government wants to develop a new generation of power stations. Oil and coal-fired power plants with 14 percent of Britain’s capacity are due to retire from service by 2015, partly because of tighter pollution rules. The government also is seeking to encourage new nuclear stations to replace the current plants that will age out of the system by 2030.

The CBI’s deputy director general, Neil Bentley, will call at the same event for more certainty from government over policy, according to remarks released by the lobby group.

“While we support the government’s direction of travel, the speed of progress is pretty frustrating,” Bentley will say. “The Energy Bill is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to boost our economy as well as head off our energy challenges. To grab that opportunity before it is too late, we need less politics, more policy.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Hutton in London at rhutton1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net


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