Clause 31 - Relevant licensee nuclear company administration orders

Nuclear Energy (Financing) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 11:30 am ar 25 Tachwedd 2021.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands The Minister of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

May I welcome you to the Chair, Mr Gray? It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship. I will be brief.

Clause 31 is the first clause of part 3 of the Bill, which establishes a special administration regime for relevant licensee nuclear companies, or RLNCs. In the unlikely event that such a company becomes insolvent during the construction or operation of the power plant, the Secretary of State, or the authority—that is, Ofgem—with the Secretary of State’s permission, may apply to the courts for the appointment of a special administrator. The objective of the administrator would be to ensure that electricity generation commences, or continues, until it is unnecessary for the administration order to remain in force for that purpose.

The introduction of a special administration regime will reduce the risks of customers being deprived of the benefits of the building of a nuclear power plant using a regulated asset base model compared with normal insolvency proceedings. It also reduces the risk of requiring a replacement source of electricity generation, which may further increase the cost of electricity to consumers. The clause defines the relevant terms for this part, which are necessary for the effective functioning of the legislation. I therefore urge that the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Alan Whitehead Alan Whitehead Shadow Minister (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Climate Change), Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

I thank the Minister for setting out what the clause is about. Hon. Members will recognise that the clause is deeply embedded with the rest of the clauses in this part of the Bill. Further clauses spell out in greater detail what clause 31 talks about. Hon. Members will also be aware that we have an amendment to the following clause to be discussed, which, were it to be agreed, would have implications for clause 31. Although we do not wish to oppose clause stand part, we would like it to be noted that when we discuss the amendment to the next clause we will refer back to clause 31 as one of the reasons why the amendment was tabled and the difference that might make to the whole part, should it be passed.

Photo of James Gray James Gray Ceidwadwyr, North Wiltshire

Order. I am ready to be advised on this matter, but I suspect that if the Opposition believe that amendment 18 would have a consequence for this clause, it would have been necessary to table an amendment to this clause, or we would have to revisit this clause later. The Clerk advises that we cannot revisit. In other words, if we pass this clause stand part now, it will not be possible to amend it later. Let us cross this bridge when we come to it. That might be the sensible way forward.

Photo of Alan Whitehead Alan Whitehead Shadow Minister (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Climate Change), Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

Mr Gray, if the amendment were to be passed, I do not think it would have an effect on clause 31. I merely raise the issue because we will be talking about all these issues in clause 32.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 31 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.