Take Back Control: Reform Party Calls for End of Foreign Ownership of Utility Firms

HARTLEPOOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 31: Richard Tice, Leader of the Reform UK party, poses outsi
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Reform UK, the rebranded Brexit Party, called for an end to foreign ownership of Britain’s utility firms to prevent the taxpayer from being continuing to be “ripped off”.

Speaking from his newly formed campaign office in Hartlepool, where he will be standing for Parliament in the next general election, businessman Richard Tice said that the promise of Brexit — which he campaigned for alongside former Reform leader Nigel Farage — has been let down by the two major parties, most notably the “con-socialist” Conservatives (Tories), as he terms them.

In addition to failing to reduce mass immigration, both illegal and legal, Tice said that the post-Brexit Tory governments of Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak have failed to take advantage of the economic opportunities that being free from the European Union affords the United Kingdom.

“They haven’t cut taxes, they haven’t cut VAT, they haven’t cut the environmental levies, they haven’t even cut some of the daft EU regulations,” Tice said.

One of the principal economic failures of the government, according to the Reform leader, has been on energy policy, saying that the largely foreign owners of the nation’s energy utility firms have “made out like bandits” during the energy crisis, which has seen the cost of gas rise by 128.9 per cent and the cost of electricity rise by 65.4 per cent over the past year alone.

Tice called for a scheme which would see energy firms still run privately, but 50 per cent owned by the state and 50 per cent owned by British pension funds, as they are natural monopolies and therefore are not open to normal competition in a free market system.

“Strategic ownership of critical National infrastructure should be owned by the British people,” he explained.

According to research conducted by Reform UK, in total 87 per cent of water and energy firms in Britain are foreign-owned, with the country’s gas power stations 85 per cent of foreign-owned and its nuclear and coal power stations one hundred per cent foreign-owned.

Tice further claims that 83 per cent of offshore wind turbines are foreign-owned, with the largest single owner of British offshore wind turbines being the government of Denmark — an EU member-state.

“We British taxpayers are paying huge inflation-linked subsidies to create ever larger profits for the Danish taxpayer. What’s the advantage of that?” Tice demanded, adding that the British public is being “ripped off” by Tory policies.

“Not only have the Tories sold off our water, our power our distribution networks, but they’ve allowed billions and billions of pounds every year of operating profits to disappear overseas,” the Reform leader complained.

Noting that the left-wing Labour Party of Sir Keir Starmer, who has previously campaigned for re-nationalisation of utility companies, has since apparently given up on the idea, Tice that “only Reform UK will take back control of our British water, our British power, are critical British infrastructure… back into British hands.”

With the ruling Conservative Party bleeding support following the installation of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak — against the wishes of ordinary party members — Reform UK has surged in the polls, including doubling its support in Conservative Party strongholds in the south of England.

Overall, the rebranded Brexit Party has seen its support nationally at around nine per cent following Sunak’s coronation by political elites.

Though not enough to beat either major party if a general election were held today, the right-wing populist party could play spoiler and all but guarantee that Labour defeats the Tories, as long as Tice sticks to his word and does not stand down down candidates — which the Brexit Party did in 2019 in order to allow Boris Johnson to win a large enough parliamentary majority to finally get Brexit done.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka


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