A PARTY-POLITICAL slanging match has broken out over why Taunton is failing to reap any significant benefits from the £14bn Hinkley Point C project.

As reported, the Taunton and Wellington area were conspicuous by their absence in the list of places set to benefit from Energy Secretary Ed Davey’s approval of the plans.

Whether the project goes ahead depends on the deal energy company EDF strikes with the Government over the price it will get for the power generated by the plant.

In Taunton, despite hopes local companies will benefit – and £660,000 has been promised to mitigate the impact of a saturated rented housing sector – little else seems to be happening.

Last week, Conservative Taunton Deane Council’s economy chief, Cllr Norman Cavill, admitted the town was likely to lose out to Bristol in a race to home EDF’s offices.

He also claimed the previous LibDem administration was late getting to the Hinkley table.

Former council leader Ross Henley told the County Gazette: “How desperate of Norman Cavill to pin the blame on LibDems when we haven’t been running the council for the last three years.

“We were engaging with Hinkley at county and Deane level. It’s sad that we’re not at the table. It’s always been difficult because it’s based around Sedgemoor and West Somerset.”

But, beyond saying he attended, authorised and encouraged meetings, Cllr Henley was unable to provide any further information about steps taken to ensure Taunton cashed in, citing the time that has elapsed and confidentiality as reasons.