Portsmouth Council’s Victory Energy scheme may still come to fruition after councillors joined forces to vote in favour of an amendment for its reinstatement.
At a budget meeting involving the full council on Tuesday (12 February) Labour and Conservative councillors backed the joint amendment, meaning the council may yet buy the company.
In response to the news, Conservative group leader and former council leader, Donna Jones told Utility Week: “I am hopeful that Victory Energy will be saved by the actions of Labour and Conservative councillors in Portsmouth.
“Both parties have put the needs of residents first, particularly those in fuel poverty, I hope the Lib Dems follow our lead.”
Labour councillor Judith Smyth, who seconded the amendment, said: “Portsmouth would be foolish and would demonstrate a lack of ambition and confidence in the future if we let this opportunity to protect our public services go.
“We would also be able to significantly reduce our carbon footprint, reduce fuel poverty and bring jobs for local people.
“Innovative Labour councils elsewhere are making this model work for their communities and investing in local services as a result.”
Labour councillor and Portsmouth South MP, Stephen Morgan, said: “Our budget amendment puts ambition back at the heart of the city’s vision for Portsmouth, rebuilding our communities, the neighbourhoods where we live, and aims to bring our high streets back from the brink.
“These are sensible, well thought out proposals which ensure we create a city which works for everyone.”
Victory Energy was set up in 2017 by the then Conservative administration.
However following the election of the Liberal Democrats as the main party the scheme was scrapped by the council, which admitted it may lose £2.5 million.
In August last year the council, headed by Liberal Democrat councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said the company would have needed “many millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money” to get it up and running and was not predicted to pay it back for up to eight years.