Brevia Consulting is providing a weekly round-up and analysis of the UK headlines. This week, read about Cornwall Insight’s latest predictions on the retail energy price cap, the Scottish Government’s legal case to hold another independence referendum on 19 October 2023, and former Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s recent comments on the energy crisis.
After several weeks of reported delays, disagreements and leaks, the Government has finally published its Energy Security Strategy. Crucially, the Strategy provides us with an insight into the main influences and influencers of this Government. With the next general election a mere two years away, the Prime Minister appears to be moving away from the climate focus seen at COP26. Instead focusing on internal party politics and maintaining support within the Conservative . Below, Brevia has unpacked some of the telling signs of what is currently influencing Government direction on energy policy.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has changed the world. The ways it has done so are yet to be fully understood. Many of our post Cold War assumptions have been upended: Germany has abandoned its longstanding policy of maintaining a limited armed forces to commit €100 billion to defence spending; Switzerland has departed from its historical neutrality to apply sanctions to Russia; Finland is now openly discussing NATO membership and things we had assumed would never happen continue to do so on a daily basis. Set against the human tragedy that is unfolding in Ukraine, these events can seem small or insignificant in comparison. Nonetheless, they are likely to have enduring consequences for everyone in Europe. Particularly when it comes to how Europe, including the UK, powers itself.
Last week, the Government published its long-awaited Levelling Up White Paper. The White Paper goes some way to answering the vexed question of ‘What is levelling up?’, by setting out twelve missions the Government hopes to accomplish by 2030. In addition, the Paper sets out a framework for extending devolution in England which could increase the transparency of the process. However, new funding commitments are thin on the ground, and critics suggest the Government has not provided enough money for Levelling Up to succeed.
The Government has delivered on its commitment to publish its remaining net zero strategy documents ahead of the COP26 Summit in Glasgow, with two weeks to spare. The Heat and Buildings Strategy, Net Zero Spending Review, as well as the overarching Net Zero Strategy were all published this week, albeit following months of delay. Publishing these documents was seen as crucial to the UK’s preparations ahead of hosting the summit. Despite this, the success of the conference continues to be riddled with uncertainty and doubts.
Last week Brevia Energy released the findings of its audit of the Government’s 2020 Energy White Paper. The results, which were covered by Energy Live News, highlighted how nearly half of the commitments included in the Energy White Paper have been hit or look likely to be reached. However, the research also showed that answers to the ‘Who Pays?’ question remain needed. With the Government expected to publish both its Net Zero Strategy and Heat and Buildings strategy soon, greater detail on that may be soon forthcoming. That is likely to provoke debate about the direction of policy and open new fronts for businesses to make their case about how the net zero transition should be delivered.
Since the beginning of August 2021, the UK has experienced a record increase in gas prices, which has grown into a retail energy crisis that has already caused ten suppliers to exit the market this year. This crisis is the product of several factors, which the UK Government will seek to remedy in the short term and avoid in the long term. This means regulatory reforms are almost inevitable. Once the crisis is over and government turns to reforming the UK’s retail energy market, businesses that operate within it must actively engage with policymakers and regulators to ensure their voices are heard.
With less than 50 days until the COP26 Summit, Brevia will be tracking the latest milestones in the UK’s preparations for the upcoming climate conference. This week the Prime Minister carried out an extensive reshuffle of his ministerial team, including a shake up at BEIS, with Greg Hands MP becoming the new Energy Minister. Other notable highlights this week include the publication of the funding details for the upcoming Contracts for Difference (CfD) Round 4 auction.
With less than two months until the COP26 Summit, Brevia will be tracking the latest milestones in the UK’s preparations for the upcoming climate conference. This week saw MPs return to Parliament following the summer recess, with what is certain to be a packed Parliamentary term. COP26 President Alok Sharma MP unveiled some further detail on the UK’s preparation plans for the climate summit, whilst the EAC Chair, The Rt Hon Philip Dunne, called on the Government to deliver effective climate leadership in the run up to the event.
As COP26 approaches, Brevia will be tracking the latest milestones in the UK’s preparations for the upcoming climate conference. This week, the Government has continued to face a series of setbacks ahead of the COP26 Summit. Most notably, the Prime Minister is facing pressure both from the Treasury and from his own backbenches around the cost of net zero, whilst also having to face the possibility that the summit will need to take place in some form of ‘hybrid’ mode.
Amanda Pritchard has been appointed the new Chief Executive Officer of NHS England. Her appointment was approved by Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday (28 July 2021). She is the first woman to hold the role, which she will take up on 1 August 2021. As Chief Executive, she will be responsible for a budget of £130 billion . Her appointment follows a competitive recruitment process by the Board of NHS England and NHS Improvement.
As COP26 approaches, Brevia will be tracking the latest milestones in the UK’s preparations for the upcoming climate conference. With the 100 day countdown to the climate conference looming, the Government has published a series of strategies and consultations on delivering net zero.