Labour’s Nationalisation Of The Grid Simply Might Not Work

4
8

This is rather fun:

The two leading power companies have quietly shifted ownership of their British operations into offshore companies to protect against Jeremy Corbyn’s threat of cut-price nationalisation, The Sunday Times can reveal.

National Grid and SSE, which together own Britain’s entire gas and electricity transmission spine, this weekend confirmed they had created overseas holding companies in recent months to seek shelter from Labour’s renationalisation agenda. SSE has put its UK business into a new Swiss holding company; National Grid has shifted its gas and electricity businesses into new subsidiaries in Luxembourg and Hong Kong.

The moves are designed to build defences against Labour’s sweeping renationalisation plans. Switzerland, Luxembourg and Hong Kong have “bilateral investment treaties” with the UK that ensure investors are paid properly in the event of any state asset grab.

It means that Labour can go and buy the grid, certainly. But that it must pay full market price for it. None of this “Parliament will decide the price” stuff will work. Because the price must be, by that international law, the full market price. Can’t go around saying the book value of the assets, or that minus the dividends investors have received – both ideas that have been floated – and the idea that they can be bought simply with an issuance of gilts is also pretty dodgy.

And, of course, this is why we have investor treaties and that investor state dispute settlement system – ISDS – in the first place. So that governments can’t rip people off.

4
Leave a Reply

avatar
4 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
4 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
4 Comment authors
Andrew CareyTDGavin Longmuirdodgy geezer Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
dodgy geezer
Guest
dodgy geezer

If a Socialist government has to pay the full price for a company, it will have many techniques for lowering that price. Simply pass legislation which makes that company uneconomic to operate, for one. If ‘running the grid’ becomes a loss-making exercise, the company which does it is essentially worthless…

Gavin Longmuir
Guest
Gavin Longmuir

National Grid set up a holding company in — Hong Kong??

That’s the kind of executive decision-making the UK needs more of.

TD
Guest
TD

The bane of progressives everywhere are those people who make moves to protect themselves from them. There oughta’ be a law.

Andrew Carey
Guest
Andrew Carey

SSE is a holder of the Fair Tax Mark (TM)
I know that seeking to avoid nationalisation at confiscatory prices is not the same as avoiding tax whatever that means, but I wonder if they will be re-awarded the FTM next time it’s due for renewal now they are using a Swiss holding company.
Could be fun.