JAMES GRUNDY MP: energy security equals national security
and live on Freeview channel 276
Having known Claire since we entered Parliament together, I was delighted to see her promoted to the cabinet, and I wish her all the very best in her new role.
Claire will have a challenging inbox to deal with given the price spike caused by the worldwide energy shortage instigated by the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.
It is vitally important we move forward with a new generation of nuclear power stations, as well as continue to develop our national supply of oil and gas so that we are never again overly dependent on supplies of those resources from unstable and hostile parts of the world, whose regimes can turn off the tap at any time.
We must also continue to develop new alternatives to oil and gas such as hydrogen, as well as continue to develop new technologies that improve energy efficiency to drive costs lower for the consumer.
There will also be challenges regarding a range of environmental policies, some of which are viewed with scepticism by both Conservative backbenchers and the general public given the very much changed economic circumstances since they were first proposed, not least the “Net Zero” agenda, which increasingly looks like it will have to be heavily modified to deal with the economic realities for ordinary working families.
Whilst it is true that ordinary voters support sensible environmental policies, they will not support proposals that come with a hefty price tag that hit them in the wallet, as Labour Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham found out last year with his ill-conceived CAZ congestion tax proposals, and Labour London Mayor Sadiq Khan found out more recently with his ULEZ plans.
Both proposals were rightly perceived by the voting public as merely a tax on going to work, with very marginal environmental benefits.
The challenge for our new Secretary of State and indeed for the government as a whole, is to come up with a range of policies and solutions that bring about practical environmental improvements, whilst ensuring simultaneously that energy costs and prices for hardworking families are reduced and remain affordable thereafter.