According to the Times, the delay to Hinckley Point C deal is leading China to threaten other projects where Cameron’s government wanted Chinese funding, including HS2.
The threat came in an article on Xinhua, which the Times says ‘reflects the thinking of the Chinese leadership, warned that the delay “not only draws queries from the international community about its openness towards foreign investment, but also adds uncertainties to the “Golden Era” of China-UK ties.’
As part of the deal, while Hinckley Point C would be built by China and EDF, a second nuclear power station could be built at Bradwell in Essex, solely by China.
The Times says that Vince Cable said these statements were a clear threat that hopes of major Chinese investment in the HS2 rail line and other investments. Cable is reported by the Times as saying that “its a pretty unveiled threat”.
Meanwhile, the Guardian says Cable said May was “previously against relaxing visa requirements for visiting Chinese businessmen when she was home secretary and had to be overruled by the then chancellor, George Osborne.”
Whatever the merits of the Hinckley Point C deal – or of nuclear in general – these threats from China should be taken note of. We think that there is no case of building HS2 in its own right: but there is certainly no case for building HS2 using British taxpayer’s money because it means China will build other infrastructure. But we’ve raised these concerns before.