George Osborne is signing IOUs for megastructure projects on behalf of future British taxpayers – and yet no one dares call him to account
It is the costliest white elephant in history. No power station, perhaps no building, so expensive has ever been built anywhere. In a modest meadow overlooking the Bristol Channel is to rise a structure that will outstrip in extravagance the Three Gorges dam, St Peter’s Basilica, the Taj Mahal and probably the pyramid of Cheops. It is to be built – you guessed it – by the British taxpayer. You can accuse George Osborne of many things but not of austerity. Hinkley Point C marks a new high watermark in public sector extravagance.
Anyone brave enough to inquire into Britain’s proposed £24bn new power station can only reel back in horror. This week every comment on Osborne’s £2bn guarantee for a Chinese share in the project has been baffled. Not a penny of British risk capital is going into it. The finance comes from French and Chinese parastatals, but gold-plated with Treasury price contracts and guarantees. The only two versions of the EDF pressurised water reactor under construction, in Finland and France, are way behind schedule with doubled budgets. For £24bn you can read anything you like. It is the auto-da-fé of Treasury control.
Source: Guardian Environment