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Osborne Angers Greens With New Dash For Gas

Danny Fortson and Kathryn Cooper , The Sunday Times

George Osborne is to unveil a new dash for gas this week, with plans to build 20 power stations and incentives to develop Britain’s shale gas reserves.

The decision to back gas will be part of the chancellor’s growth plans in his autumn statement, answering industry fears about the high price of green power and the looming threat of blackouts. It will give a clear signal that Osborne will place economic growth ahead of Britain’s ambitious climate-change targets, a move that is likely to anger his coalition partners and environmentalists.

Controversially, the chancellor is expected to hint at future tax breaks for shale gas. Work was stopped at Britain’s first site, near Blackpool, last year after two minor earthquakes. The moratorium on drilling is set to be lifted before the end of the year.

Wednesday’s autumn statement will see Osborne under pressure to defend his record on growth and the public finances.

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