Ed Miliband just made blunder that’ll cost UK billions and trigger tsunami of legal claims | Personal Finance | Finance

The Labour Party is pushing through its manifesto commitment to ban new drilling for oil and gas in the North Sea in a move that will delight party activists and should horrify the rest of us.

It will drive up domestic energy bills and leave us totally exposed to the next energy shock. Even Labour-backing unions are up in arms at the move.

Worse, it will do absolutely nothing to slow climate change, because the UK will be just as dependent on fossil fuels as before. The only difference is that we will have to source even more from overseas.

Yesterday, I warned that green energy geek Miliband was plotting to destroy the English countryside by covering it with onshore wind and solar farms.

Today, he has set out to destroy the nation’s finances, starting with our balance of payments.

In the 2022/23, the most recent for which figures are available, the UK government generated £10.57 billion of revenues by taxing North Sea oil.

The North Sea still has plenty of capacity, but from now on, it will slow to a trickle. And this will cost us a fortune.

During the election, PM Keir Starmer did all he could to make sure Ed Miliband didn’t appear in front of the TV cameras. Now we know why. He’s a total liability.

It’s another way that Starmer has hidden his real intentions from us.

Issuing oil and gas exploration licences has always been a non-political process. Thanks to Miliband, it’s now politically charged and a taste of life to come under Labour.

The 33rd UK Offshore Licensing Round closed for applications in January 2023.

In total, 76 oil and gas companies submitted 115 bids across the North Sea, Irish Sea and East Atlantic. Regulator the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) reckoned these would boost UK oil output by 600million barrels.

Bids for up to 35 areas were still awaiting a decision from the NSTA when the election was called.

Now Miliband has stepped in and blocked them. This will cost us a fortune in lost tax revenues. Thereafter there will be no new rounds, no new drilling.

And there’s worse.

Exploration companies will have spent millions of pounds preparing their bids for the 33rd licensing round, and may start instructing their lawyers to sue the government for their money.

That could cost taxpayers millions more. Thanks, Ed.

The UK already imports three quarters of its oil and gas. That’s why we were hit harder than almost any other country when energy prices rocketed after Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Blocking long-planned oil and gas projects will leave UK consumers even more exposed to the global energy shortages that sent bills soaring this winter.

Our energy security has been shot to pieces.

In a final blow, importing energy isn’t green. It comes from countries with filthier methods of extraction than the heavily regulated UK.

As a result, electricity imported to the UK has up to four times the carbon emissions of energy generated domestically. Miliband’s move is a net loss for the planet, as well as the UK taxpayer.

Our hapless energy secretary somehow believes that onshore wind can plug the gap. He hasn’t done his sums.

He also enraged the party’s union backers by putting 200,000 energy sector jobs at risk.

Unite general secretary Sharon White raged: “It is quite frankly irresponsible for Labour to keep ploughing ahead with the guillotine ban of new oil and gas licences when there is no clear plan for jobs.”

The unions hated the Tories. Now they’re not too keen on Labour, either.

If Miliband can inflict this much damage less than a week into the job, just think what he could do in a month. Or heaven help us, five years.

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