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Put all of National Grid under state control, net zero campaigners urge


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National Grid, which maintains the backbone of Britain’s electricity network, should be taken under government control to ensure the rapid transition to net zero, campaigners said, after a report revealed that the business paid investors almost £9bn in dividends and share buyback schemes over the last five years.

The stock-market-listed firm, which counts the fund managers BlackRock, Vanguard and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority among its top five shareholders, has a 19% operating margin on its electricity business, allowing the board to fund an average £1bn a year in dividends.

A report by the left-of-centre thinktank Common Wealth found that a special dividend following the sale of its gas distribution business gave a significant boost to shareholders in 2017 when the funds might have been used for further investment.

The business increased the amount paid to shareholders to £4.5bn following a £3.2bn special dividend.

Part of National Grid is on course to be nationalised next year to allow the government more control over its strategy, but the Green party said the entire…

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