DEALING with EDF is like dealing with British Leyland in the 1970s, was the startling analogy of the Pawlett and Bridgwater MP Ian Liddell Grainger. That was the reason he said why things were taking so long to get the Hinkley C project started.

“We are at the edge of a very major announcement,” he said. “What is said, Hinkley C is going to happen. I had a meeting with the Prime Minister two days ago and I had another meeting with the secretary of state for energy Amber Rudd and they said it is going to happen. And it will happen and it will happen here.”

Speaking at the Walnut Tree Hotel in North Petherton he said that EDF are gearing up for the “off” and they had been helped by David Hall of Somerset County Council and the final announcement would be soon as the Chinese money “is in place.” However working with EDF was like doing business with the ailing state owned British Leyland and other nationalised industries of the Callaghan era.

“Please remember that EDF is a Government owned company,” he said. “it is not a stand-alone company in the sense that we would recognise it. The CEO is appointed by the French Government, by President Hollande and therefore they work in a different way that we would know as a norm for a British company.”

“It’s an interesting situation. If you were around in the 1970s working with nationalised industries that was the closest we ever had to that.”

He continued: “Let’s be blunt about this. The French don’t want another Flamanville, the nuclear power station just over the English Channel. It’s not been their finest hour. They’ve completely changed the way they do their contracts, their employment rights, and everything else is different to the British system. But the unions have embraced that and so have business.”

Some businesses in the area are unhappy about the wait for work on the final investment decision. Speaking for many firms Steve Leahy of the Bridgwater Chamber of Commerce said: “We’ve been in a position of limbo over the last five years. We’ve seen things shelved, employment taken on and then laid off. So what started as a positive towards Hinkley C, we’ve now seen some negatives. Is it going to happen, do we invest or not? Investment levels for projects are huge if you want to be on the supply chain project so people have been sceptical.”

He said firms were reluctant to commit themselves to more spending until they see the final investment decision.

Do you think the Hinkley C project will go ahead or do you feel there’s a problem? Your thoughts on the effects of the investment to