Miliband Deploying Disinformation About Fracking

As the government plans to lift the ban on fracking, Labour was quick to issue a press release condemning their action in quite vociferous terms. Guido is happy to cut through the bluster and rhetoric of each claim in Miliband’s statement, so you don’t have to:

  • “We now have an energy policy run for big fossil fuel interests not for the British people. No to the windfall tax and yes to dangerous, unsafe fracking.”

FALSE: This statement is unsubstantiated and untrue. Fracking is in the best interests of the British people because it will create up to 64,500 jobs and up to £80 billion in tax revenue and reduce reliance on foreign imported energy. It is also safe, especially under the conditions of the existing regulatory framework. The government, of course, has already imposed a £5 billion windfall tax on energy companies. Guido isn’t quite sure how siphoning off profits from “big fossil fuel” companies is in their interests…

  • “Fracking is a dangerous fantasy”

FALSE: Fracking is neither dangerous, nor a fantasy. Over the last 40 years over 200 wells have been hydraulically fractured in the UK. It is also used in the United States, where it contributes 0.2% of GDP secures their energy needs and helped make them an energy exporter for the first time in decades.

  •  “it would do nothing to cut energy bills”

FALSE: Although the effect of UK fracking could be marginal, providing more energy supply would obviously lower costs. This has been evidenced in the United States, where fracking has helped secure energy security.

  • “it costs far more than renewables”

FALSE: A 2018 paper estimated the lifetime costs of various sources of UK energy. At both low and average power plant costs, the life cycle costs of fracking (2.1 and 9.6 pence/KWh) are cheaper than hydro (14.4 pence/KWh), solar (16.9 pence/KWh) and both onshore (12.6 pence/KWh) and offshore wind (10.1 pence/KWh).

  • “it is deeply unpopular with the public.”

FALSE: Although evidence is mixed, polling has previously shown significant support for fracking. It is certainly unfair to call it “deeply unpopular”.

Miliband finished by claiming:

“The Conservatives have broken yet another manifesto promise, this time on banning fracking. Now Conservative MPs must explain to their own constituents why they will have to suffer the danger of fracking in their own back yard.”

Clearly Ed has discovered his inner NIMBY. He also conveniently fails to mention the manifesto provision for fracking to be resumed should it be found safe, as the government is investigating. Disappointing, even by Labour’s standards…

mdi-tag-outline Fact check Fracking
mdi-account-multiple-outline Ed Miliband Keir Starmer
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