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U.K. Needs More Secure Energy Supply, Lawmakers Say

The U.K. needs to switch from a short-term vision for energy supply of just “keeping the lights on” to a longer-term view to account for risks from electromagnetic pulses, flooding and climate change, a panel of lawmakers said.

Prime Minister David Cameron should consider allocating more money to improve Britain’s resilience in these areas, the lawmakers said in a report published today examining the national security strategy.

Cameron is “too focused on managing current events at the expense of looking ahead,” the chairwoman of the committee, opposition Labour Party lawmaker Margaret Beckett, said in an e-mailed statement. “Recent events at home and abroad are a salutary reminder of the value of thinking about threats to our national security in the widest sense and of keeping a close eye on what is over the horizon.”

The crisis in Ukraine is the type of event that the government’s National Security Council must consider “to give time to horizon-scanning and longer-term, strategic issues,” the panel said.

“We regularly take stock of the changing global environment and threats to our security, as well as the many opportunities for our country to make the most of all its assets and advantages,” the Cabinet Office said in an e-mailed response to the report.

Budget cuts mean “expecting there to be no shrinkage in the U.K.’s influence is wholly unrealistic,” the lawmakers said. Any national security strategy based on this is “wishful thinking rather than credible strategy.”

The panel said it has concerns the next strategy document, to be drawn up after elections next year, will be a “rushed job” and a “motherhood and apple pie” document that “again avoids the big questions and is of little practical use in guiding government decision-making.”

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