Union chiefs are pressuring Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer to renationalise the energy sector at a cost of £200billion to the taxpayer if his party is elected.

Unite, the Labour party’s largest financial backer, has publicly called on the party to readopt the policy.

Sharon Graham, general secretary of the union, said: “It’s time to end the scandal of our energy system, which allows profiteers to pocket billions while workers and communities are left in the cold.”

The Telegraph says Jeremy Corbyn pledged to take energy infrastructure into state ownership in the Labour Party’s 2019 manifesto, but the plan was dropped by his successor, Sir Keir.

Renationalising the UK’s energy network would cost the taxpayer up to £196bn, according to Unite.

However, Ms Graham argued that a nationalised energy sector would have saved consumers £45billion last year – equivalent to £1,800 off the average household bill.

'Misleading' figures

Lawrence Slade, chief executive of the Energy Networks Association, an industry body, called the figures “fundamentally misleading”.

British Gas was privatised in 1986 and National Grid was created in 1990.

Unite wants public control of the entire UK energy network.

It argued that energy companies made profits of £45billion last year that could have been kept in public hands and used to keep a cap on inflation.

Based on the “book value” of Britain’s energy companies, nationalisation would cost £90billon. However, this cost would more than double based on the market value of the businesses involved.


Mr Slade said: “A complete restructuring of the energy sector would be costly and unnecessary. It would lead to significant disruption and delays in achieving the UK's legally-binding decarbonisation targets.

“The figures in the report are fundamentally misleading. The regulatory regime overseen by Ofgem strictly governs the returns made by networks."

Last year, Labour outlined plans to launch Great British Energy, a publicly-owned green UK energy company that would operate in a similar way to France’s EDF.

A Labour spokesman said: "Keir has been clear - we won’t be ideological on these issues. Everything we do will be about growth, and we will be guided by what is the best value for taxpayers and what delivers for consumers.

“Spending billions compensating shareholders isn't our priority. Every penny of taxpayers’ money we spend will focus on lowering bills, delivering energy security and tackling climate change."

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