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Regan plans energy firm funded by carrier bag fee

Ash Regan: ‘we need to be bold and ambitious’ (pic: Terry Murden)

SNP leadership candidate Ash Regan wants to revive plans for a state-owned energy company but her plan to help finance it through the 10p carrier bag charge has angered retailers.

Ms Regan says the supermarket levy raises about £50 million, half of which would be diverted from good causes to be used as “seed investment” backed by the Scottish National Investment Bank.

She said it is estimated that nearly £31m a year could be available for the energy company, once all forms of retail that are legislated under the charge are taken into account. Previous figures have only focused on the supermarkets.

But David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: “The failure to engage and sound out the retail industry ahead of the unveiling of this policy to the media isn’t reassuring, more so given the well-known deficiencies in engaging business ahead of the government consultation on restricting alcohol promotions.”

Ms Regan said the full charge would be used for the people of Scotland, withholding the 20% VAT currently returned to Westminster for use in the energy company.

“We need to be bold and ambitious, we need to look at tackling generation, transmission and supply of energy,” she said.

“We have the resources, we have the infrastructure, we need to make it deliver to the people of Scotland in an affordable manner.

“For far too long large corporations have profited from Scotland’s vast natural resources, and we ensure that those resources are used to the greatest benefit to the people of Scotland.

“The Carrier Bag Charge can be used to fund the initial setup of the new National Energy Company. This will provide a steady and reliable income stream to get the project setup over the next few years when it can come online and produce for the people of Scotland. In these tough economic times we must be ambitious with making our resources and economy work hard”.

Interview with Ash Regan

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