Ofgem recommends reforms to secure Britain's energy supplies

Ofgem has published its Project Discovery report, in which it has recommended 'far reaching' energy

Prompt action will ensure that consumers do not pay more than is necessary and also allows time for a wider range of reforms to be considered, said Ofgem.

Ofgem has put forward a wide range of options for further consultation, including improved market signals, obligations on suppliers and capacity tenders to give greater confidence to help meet the nation's carbon targets. Other options also include more structural reform ranging from a centralised renewables market through to a central buyer of energy.

Alistair Buchanan, chief executive of Ofgem, said: "Our evidence shows that Britain has a window of opportunity to put in place far reaching reforms to meet the potential security of supply challenges we may face beyond the middle of this decade.

"The overwhelming majority of responses to Ofgem's October consultation show that there is an increasing consensus that leaving the present system of market arrangements and other incentives unchanged is not an option. Ofgem has therefore put forward a range of possible options to unlock the up to £200bn of investment Britain may need. We are keen to work with Government to find the best way forward."

According to Ofgem, reform is needed because a combination of factors have come together including: the global financial crisis, significant world-wide demand for investment in energy, tough EU emissions targets, the closure of ageing power stations and an increasing dependency on gas imports.

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Is anyone prepared to solve the NHS funding crisis?

As long as the political taboo on raising taxes endures, the service will be in financial peril. 

It has long been clear that the NHS is in financial ill-health. But today's figures, conveniently delayed until after the Conservative conference, are still stunningly bad. The service ran a deficit of £930m between April and June (greater than the £820m recorded for the whole of the 2014/15 financial year) and is on course for a shortfall of at least £2bn this year - its worst position for a generation. 

Though often described as having been shielded from austerity, owing to its ring-fenced budget, the NHS is enduring the toughest spending settlement in its history. Since 1950, health spending has grown at an average annual rate of 4 per cent, but over the last parliament it rose by just 0.5 per cent. An ageing population, rising treatment costs and the social care crisis all mean that the NHS has to run merely to stand still. The Tories have pledged to provide £10bn more for the service but this still leaves £20bn of efficiency savings required. 

Speculation is now turning to whether George Osborne will provide an emergency injection of funds in the Autumn Statement on 25 November. But the long-term question is whether anyone is prepared to offer a sustainable solution to the crisis. Health experts argue that only a rise in general taxation (income tax, VAT, national insurance), patient charges or a hypothecated "health tax" will secure the future of a universal, high-quality service. But the political taboo against increasing taxes on all but the richest means no politician has ventured into this territory. Shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander has today called for the government to "find money urgently to get through the coming winter months". But the bigger question is whether, under Jeremy Corbyn, Labour is prepared to go beyond sticking-plaster solutions. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.