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11 March 2009 (PN 25)


The Business & Enterprise Committee today releases the Government’s Response to its Report on Energy policy: future Challenges, published in December last year which warned of the risk of a looming “energy crunch” if the necessary investment in new capacity is not made very soon.

The Committee is encouraged by the tone and much of the content of the Response and notes:

“While we may disagree about the adequacy of plans to enable increased gas storage, or the transparency of the new consumer complaint and representation arrangements, for example, there are other commitments and observations with which we entirely agree.”

In particular, the Committee is heartened by the Government's strong words on the future of direct selling, which its Report highlighted as a practice that merited a potential ban. The Response warns that “unless this sector gets its act together, it is ‘supping at the last chance saloon’ during the next 18 months.” The industry can now have no doubts about the need to maintain the highest standards of probity in this area.

In the light of its original concerns about new investment, the Committee also emphasises the importance of ensuring that the energy-related National Policy Statements are in place in the timeframe promised by the Government in this response.

Committee Chairman Peter Luff said:

Now that the new Energy and Climate Change Committee has been set up, it would not be appropriate for us to comment in great detail on this Response. 

“However, we emphasise that the triple policy challenge of providing secure, affordable and sustainable energy supplies in the UK remains one of the most important and complex facing Government. There are no easy answers to this challenge.

“We are particularly disappointed by the Government's response to our earlier warning that if the UK is to avoid volatility in the wholesale gas price in future, it needs "a level of growth in storage capacity that is an order of magnitude greater than that which the market has achieved on its own to date."

“Nonetheless, we are generally encouraged by the spirit of this Response as a statement of Government intent, particularly the signs of strong resolve to combat bad practice in terms of direct selling”

Membership of the Committee

Chairman: Peter Luff MP (Con) (Mid Worcestershire)
Mr Adrian Bailey (Lab) (West Bromwich West)
Roger Berry (Lab) (Kingswood)
Mr Brian Binley (Con) (Northampton South)
Mr Michael Clapham (Lab) (Barnsley West and Penistone)
Mr Lindsay Hoyle (Lab) (Chorley)
Miss Julie Kirkbride (Con) (Bromsgrove)
Anne Moffat (Lab) (East Lothian)
Mr Mark Oaten (Lib Dem) (Winchester)
Lembit Opik (Lid Dem) (Montgomeryshire)
Mr Anthony Wright (Lab) (Great Yarmouth)

Media Enquiries: Laura Humble, Tel 0207 219 2003/ 07917 488 489, email:
Specific Committee Information: Tel 020 7219 5777, email: