We ask Robert Cole, acting business editor at The Times, to predict the next big economic influence on UK business…
Speaking at the annual CBI dinner in May, Tony Blair announced that ‘a big push’ on renewable energy was ‘back on the agenda with a vengeance’, effectively pre-empting the Government Energy Review to be published in July.
Robert Cole sees the review as a significant economic milestone. Taking into account the current steady rise in energy prices and its knock-on effect on the cost of running a business and delivering and manufacturing goods, he believes it should give a clearer view for businesses on where the UK is likely to obtain its energy over the next 50 years and the role of gas, coal and nuclear power during this period.
‘It’s not a question of being for or against nuclear energy,’ says Cole. ‘We need a balanced energy supply, coming from a variety of sources. I hope to be pleasantly surprised by the review, but if no clear policy can be reached, businesses should be increasingly worried about the possibility of energy price instability. We need more certainty and I’m afraid that the clock is ticking.’
The review will hopefully provide clarity on the Government’s position on nuclear power and address the possibility of becoming dependent on imported energy if a clear strategy cannot be reached. Cole says business owners should keep a keen eye on the energy debate and identify the effects it could have on their business.