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British Energy

Volume 406: debated on Thursday 12 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the recent loss announced by British Energy; how much public money has been given to support British Energy in each of the last three years; and what plans there are to continue this support during (a) 2003 and (b) 2004. [118466]

The bulk of British Energy's (BE) reported loss is made up of asset write-downs. These are based on expected future cash flows of the business, as reflected in the company's restructuring plan, and consequently have already been taken into consideration when considering the on-going viability of the business.On 9 September 2002 the Government agreed to provide BE with a credit facility for up to £410 million in respect of its working capital requirements and cash collateral for trading in the UK and North America. On 26 September 2002 the Government agreed to extend the facility and increase it from £410 million up to £650 million. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry informed the House on 7 March 2003,

Official Report, column 89WS that BE had repaid to Government all outstanding amounts under the facility. On a contingency basis the facility has been extended at a reduced level of £200 million to the earlier of 30 September 2004 or the date on which the company's restructuring plan becomes effective. As part of BE's restructuring, the Government plan to meet the cost of BE's historic nuclear fuel liabilities. This will include a payment of £175 million in financial year 2004–05 in line with the Secretary of State's statement of 28 November.