Well, well, well. You know all that doom and gloom BREXIT was supposed to bring? I’ve just been reading the UK chancellors budget speech and I’ve been pleasantly surprised. Tax cuts and infrastructure investment? Now that the EU shackles are off, the UK can and is doing it’s own thing.
As an investor I do have my reservations of course. The whole ‘Green’ thing. Has anyone done the sums on the extra baseload generation capacity and extra infrastructure the UK will need for all these whizzy little electric cars and suchlike? Yet I found nothing in the speech about new power stations apart from wind and solar. That’s going to be a big bloody help when the wind doesn’t blow on a cloudy day.
They’re going to have to get busy building these new Rolls Royce SMR plants, as well as making sure no crazy hippies or other witless nonsense merchants can damage them.
As a concept I like the SMR and the prospect of fast rollout and installation times for small nuclear reactors. I’d like it even better if there was a heavily camouflaged option. One that could be hidden in a place like Corsham Quarries, or other disused MOD sites or mines. Places that could easily be made secure and protected with a lot of rock between them and the outside world. Not that these SMRs will do a Chernobyl, they are being built and designed by Rolls-Royce after all. Unfortunately the reputation of Nuclear Engineering was not best served by a Soviet regime turning off all the safeties just to see how high they could crank up the volume. Nor was it well served by sticking old model boiler reactors on the shores of Japan which are notoriously vulnerable to earthquakes and subsequent tsunamis a la Fukushima. However, what all the anti-nuke faction forget is that nuclear is still the cleanest, safest option when it comes to power generation. You’re far more likely to get damaged by a cuddly toy.
Now if the powers that be can start to get these SMRs in situ before 2030 and at least start to update the electrical grid, then the UK may, and I’m putting a big conditional ‘may’ on that, have all the whizziest electrickery cars a body could desire. If of course someone discovers a new source of available cobalt etc or the much vaunted Graphene batteries prove viable. However, I’m still not totally sold on an all electric vehicle UK. There are journeys they are okay for; urban only commutes for example, but for non-rail travel outside major urban conurbations, trucking and agriculture, electrical vehicles are still, at this part of their developmental cycle, chocolate teapot time.
Mrs S and Youngest, a.k.a ‘North’ are delighted that the EU mandated ‘tampon tax’ is going away. “About bloody time.” Said ‘North’. I am also pleased about the removal of VAT from books and magazines. Then there’s going to be no extra taxes on fuel or Al Cohol and friends? Just what do these Tories think they’re doing? Running an economy? Well hold my breath.
PSBR has shot up, but the BOE have just cut interest rates, so now is a time to invest in infrastructure, not merely spend to buy votes. Necessary investment like the promised 50 billion on broadband. If I was asked, not that anyone is going to, I’d say the UK’s first post-BREXIT budget is a bit of a gamble, but not an unreasonable one. If it were me I’d give the infrastructure improvements the nod and cross my fingers, toes and nostrils, which is what I strongly suspect Bojo is doing. The Tories will score a big win if they only manage to fix the potholes and let the traffic go where it may.
Sounds like a plan.