A Labour MP claims to have analysed the small print of the paperwork covering the deal to build Hinkley Point C, suggesting that even if it's now cancelled the UK could be left facing a compensation bill running into many billions of pounds.
According to MP Alan Whitehead, an existing agreement signed by the government and French utility firm EDF last year opens the door to massive compensation payouts should the build be cancelled for any political reasons.
Whitehead told Business Green that the paperwork covers "highly unlikely scenarios" disrupting the build, one of which is a our government intervening and preventing construction. This, he says, may result in a claim for compensation coming in from EDF should we bail out on the deal to construct Hinkley Point C; effectively meaning we're lumbered with it now.
Whitehead says we might be best off pretending we still really want it to be built even if the government's turning against it, saying: "It is not too fantastical to suggest that the best course of action for the UK government might be to pretend to press ahead with the project, hoping that EDF falls on its sword soon as the sheer scale of the problems it is grappling with become unmanageable. Voila! £22bn is saved and electricity can revert to a real market price."
The government still hasn't given EDF and the Chinese a final, definitive YES or NO about whether or not it wants Hinkley Point C to go ahead, with the latest delay ordered by our new PM appearing to hint at the latter. [Business Green]