Tim Yeo MP, chairman of the Energy Select Committee, warned of the problems as EDF said it was scaling back spending on its £14bn project for reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset “until there is greater clarity around its negotiations with the Government”.
This would “have an impact on recruitment and jobs”, EDF said, understood to mean the loss of 150 jobs – about one-fifth of the project’s workforce.
Under plans devised by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, EDF will receive a long-term contract guaranteeing a price for the electricity it generates from Hinkley Point. The price will be subsidised through levies on all UK consumer energy bills.
But the Treasury, which is heavily involved in the negotiations, has taken a tough line over the returns EDF should be allowed.
“The talks have reached a critical stage,” Mr Yeo told The Daily Telegraph, adding he believed they were likely to conclude either way “in the next fortnight”.