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‘Ridiculous‘ Autumn Statement Leaves £14bn Smart Meter Black Hole

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Who will pay for UK’s biggest ever infrastructure project?, union asks.

This morning’s autumn statement has at least one glaring omission according to GMB, the energy union – £14billion needed for the Government’s flagship smart meter project.

In his ‘mini-budget’ Chancellor Philip Hammond promised huge investment in infrastructure – but made no mention of the vast sums required to install the 53 million new meters across the country.

The project will see new smart meters installed in 30million homes and businesses at an estimated cost of £215 a go.

The initial price tag for the project is £11billion, but with massive staff shortages the cost of the project looks underfunded in the lead up to the target date of 2020. [1]

The cost is nearly 30 per cent of the £55.7 billion needed for the High Speed 2 rail project. [2]

Justin Bowden, GMB National Secretary, said:

“It is ridiculous that the autumn statement did not even mention the biggest infrastructure the UK has ever had.

“Trying to install 53 million smart meters by 2020 is cloud cuckoo land - unless there is a massive Government led programme starting now to ensure adequate staff to do the work, alongside proper funding.

“Every electricity and gas customer in the country will want to know whether by leaving smart metering out of the autumn statement, the Chancellor has a cunning plan to try and sneak the costs onto them.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

Contact: Justin Bowden on 07710631351 or at Justin.bowden@gmb.org.uk

[1] “At the moment, the official price tag for the programme is £11bn, but The Sunday Times has learnt that energy firms, which are responsible for installing the meters, believe that figure will go much higher. David Brooks, managing director of Good Energy, says of the scheme: “It is expensive — we think the real total could be as much as £14bn.”

 http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/the-true-cost-of-smart-meters-8522h2ws0  

[2]

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/568372/hs2-phase-2b-sobc-management-case.pdf

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