Ex-policy advisor to Gordon Brown shares outrage at govt offering financial support for Octopus' Bulb takeover

22 December 2022, 20:23

Nick Butler full interview with Tom Swarbrick

Melissa Fleur Afshar

By Melissa Fleur Afshar

'It's a disgrace!' the former senior policy advisor to Gordon Brown told LBC, suggesting "Grant Shapps should explain" why this funding came about.

The UK government has pledged up to £4.5bn to fund Octopus' takeover of collapsed energy company Bulb - and former policy advisor to Gordon Brown, Nick Butler, is less than pleased with the news.

The now visiting professor at Kings College London told LBC:

"[The takeover] will not be paid by the government, it's going to be paid by consumers. It is part of the deal set up through Ofgem the regulator so that if any of their energy companies go broke, their customers are transferred properly and spammed quickly to another supplier, but that is not a free process."

Tom Swarbrick had questioned the former advisor on why it had become necessary for the government to fund Octopus to take over Bulb.

Mr Butler then revealed that the money the government will be putting forward to Octopus will have originated from consumers.

"30 energy firms have failed because of poor regulation by Ofgem," said Mr Butler.

"That total cost is £8.7bn. On the public accounts committee calculation, the first 29 [failed energy firms] cost £2.7bn. That's £94.00 for every household in the UK, and that will take that household figure to over £200.00 a year."

Mr Butler continued that the National Audit Council and Public Accounts Committee have investigated what's happened.

"No one has resigned," said the ex-policy advisor angrily.

"What's not been done is looking at why this happened, which is a complete failure of Ofgem!"

"One director has resigned honourably because she thought the whole approach of Ofgem was wrong. The chief executive is still there, [and so are] the chairman and board members who have overseen this terribly light regulation which has allowed companies which are not properly capitalised to keep trading, and we are all paying for it," continued Mr Butler.

He went on to say that he'd like to "see" a complete audit of why it costs so much.

"It's a disgrace," said Mr Butler.

"You should get Grant Shapps on your programme to absolutely explain why this came about, and what he's doing to change Ofgem!"

READ MORE: Energy regulator Ofgem "extremely concerned" as almost 200 people left without gas for a week

Nick Butler explains how the govt's £4.5bn agreement with Octopus is a result of Ofgem's 'failure'

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