David Odling, energy policy manager for trade organisation Oil & Gas UK, told a meeting at the Labour Party’s annual conference in Liverpool yesterday that the government’s planned Electricity Market Reform was “unfinanceable, undeliverable and unaffordable”.

He said electricity was being favoured by government to deliver carbon cuts when gas offered “a much cheaper way to do a lot of this”.

“Politicians picking winners has a disastrous track record – a competitive market will disappear,” he said. He added that he saw no chance of the UK meeting its 2020 renewables obligation.

“We are going to fail,” he said.

But Barry Gardiner MP, Special Envoy on Climate Change and the Environment for the opposition Labour Party, said it was ridiculous to “talk about electricity market reform and then not talk about reform”.

“To pretend that regulation becomes central planning is not true and to say the Electricity Market Reform is unfinanceable is not right,” he said. “Britain is an attractive place to invest.”

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