THERESA May's new Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond has reaffirmed the government's commitment to Hinkley C.

Mr Hammond's commitment came in the light of a report from the National Audit Office which estimates new nuclear power station in Somerset may end up costing the government far more than was originally anticipated.

In 2013, the government agreed to pay EDF £92.50 for each megawatt hour of electricity, however because wholesale energy prices have fallen since the agreement, the government must make up the difference.

In a report published this week the NAO estimate these top up costs would rise to £29.7 billion over the course of the 35 year contract.

The NAO said: "Supporting early new nuclear projects could lead to higher costs in the short term than continuing to support wind and solar.

"The cost competitiveness of nuclear power is weakening as wind and solar become more established.

"The decision to proceed with support for nuclear power therefore relies more on strategic than financial grounds: nuclear power is needed in the supply mix to complement the intermittent nature of wind and solar."

EDF has said it is still fully committed to the project, despite delays and speculation that Brexit would impact on negotiations.

EDF chairman Jean Bernard-Levy said: "Our business strategy is not linked to Great Britain’s political affiliation with the European Union, so we have no reason to change it.”

The plan for Hinkley Point C is currently being challenged by the group’s French trade unions, with the delayed final investment decision still pending.

South West MEP, Molly Scott Cato, responded to the announcement by Mr Hammond by saying the new Conservative government is simply 'repeating the same mistakes of old'.

Dr Scott Cato said: “Perhaps I should be gracious, and give Mr Hammond breathing space to come to his senses. "But to make such an announcement on Hinkley just hours after such a damning report shows a worrying propensity for new ministers to fail to learn from the mistakes of the past.

"Hammond repeated the tired refrain of needing Hinkley to fill the energy gap. But we know that renewables can come on stream faster and cheaper than nuclear.

"Sadly, it seems political backing for a genuine energy transition away from dangerous and costly nuclear towards community owned renewables is still on hold.”