Corbyn’s plan to renationalise energy companies ‘would hit pensions’

Jeremy Corbyn’s plan to renationalise energy companies at less than their market value ‘would hit pension funds’

  • Corbyn wants to take National Grid and regional providers out of private hands 
  • Tories said the move would hit pension funds that hold shares in the power firms
  • Liz Truss, Chief Secretary to Treasury, said it would discourage investment in UK 

Jeremy Corbyn will today unveil plans to renationalise energy network firms at less than their market value.

The Labour leader wants to take the National Grid and regional distribution firms out of the hands of private shareholders and into public ownership.

The price paid would be adjusted to account for ‘pension fund deficits, asset stripping since privatisation… and state subsidies’.

The Labour leader wants to take the National Grid and regional distribution firms out of the hands of private shareholders and into public ownership

The Tories said the move would hit pension funds that hold shares in the power firms, reducing the retirement income of millions of workers.

Liz Truss, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said: ‘Appropriation of private property. Who would be next? Why would anyone invest in Britain?’

Neil O’Brien, Conservative MP for Harborough, said: ‘Labour’s plan to literally steal from pensioners is outrageous. It’s shocking – and this is only what they admit before an election.’

Labour’s plan is for new local energy boards to take over the running of the power network. The Treasury would compensate investors, adding billions to the national debt.

Rebecca Long-Bailey, Labour’s business spokesman, will announce the move during a visit to Salford with Mr Corbyn this morning. She said: ‘It’s an insult and an injustice to our people and our planet for companies operating the grid to rip customers off, line the pockets of the rich and not invest properly in renewable energy.’

Liz Truss, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said: ‘Appropriation of private property. Who would be next? Why would anyone invest in Britain?’

But Matthew Fell of the CBI business group said renationalisation was unaffordable, adding: ‘Loose talk of renationalisation is already hitting the pockets of nearly six million pensioners. This will only increase if the plans are delivered.

‘Much-needed investment is drying up under Labour’s threats, which seriously risk hampering efforts to tackle climate change, and puts in doubt the innovation that will deliver a net-zero carbon economy.’

A National Grid spokesman claimed the plans would delay progress towards green energy. He said: ‘National Grid is one of the most reliable networks in the world. We are also at the heart of the decarbonisation agenda. Only a few days ago we broke the record for the longest period of time the country has gone without coal generation. We deliver reliability, investment and innovation for 3 per cent of the average energy bill.’

There are 14 electricity distribution networks owned by six groups: Electricity North West, Northern Powergrid, Scottish and Southern Energy, Scottish Power Energy Networks, UK Power Networks and Western Power Distribution.

The eight gas networks are owned by SGN, Northern Gas Networks, Wales and West Utilities and Cadent Gas. 

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