UK manufacturers lobby group the Engineering Employers Federation (EEF) has revealed analysis which shows the UK spends just 0.02% of GDP on energy research, a figure below all of the EU 15 except Portugal and just a tenth of the US’ figure.

EEF suggests these figures are at odds with government claims to be taking a lead in addressing climate change.

EEF director general, Martin Temple, said: “Given we are the fourth largest economy in the world, our level of investment in energy research is woeful and government needs to examine how it can bridge this gap as a matter of urgency.”

EEF also set out its own long-term energy strategy that includes fossil fuels, renewables and nuclear power, although EEF does not believe government should underwrite the nuclear industry, government must address planning, licensing and liabilities issues that will make a substantial difference to the rate of return required by investors. The comments echo those of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), which calls for the government to give more detail on its plans for future restrictions on carbon emissions in order for low carbon energy sources, including nuclear, to play a proper role.