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Climate Change Levy

Volume 447: debated on Thursday 15 June 2006

18. What recent discussions he has had on the climate change levy and its impact on carbon emissions. (77560)

We have discussions with a wide range of groups on a wide range of issues, including the climate change levy. Talking of discussions, next week we will be able to debate and vote on the climate change levy as part of the Finance Bill; indeed, we will discuss it with all parties in this House, and I hope that all will back it at that point. In particular, I hope that, for once, we will see backing from the Conservatives on the environment, instead of opposing the levy. I hope that they will support the measures that we are taking. I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that response. He will know that high energy users, including the aluminium smelter sector, have reduced their CO2 emissions considerably because of incentives provided by the Government, through changes to national insurance and part-exemption from the climate change levy. That has allowed smelters, including Anglesey Aluminium in my constituency, to reduce their carbon emissions by up to 30 per cent. Will he consider that issue further when climate change is under discussion, to ensure that British manufacturing, including smelters, is more productive? Does he agree that that carrot and stick approach is just what British industry needs?

My hon. Friend is right in that the package that we introduced with the climate change levy included the important climate change agreements, giving an 80 per cent. discount from the levy for high energy, high intensive sectors, especially those facing international competition. We were able to introduce those discounts for 42 sectors and have since added five more. We are looking to legislate for those five more, building on an extra nine that we added previously. We are trying to strike an essential balance with a package of measures that gets us the environmental gains that we need, but protects the competitiveness of British industry. We have achieved that with the climate change levy package and I hope that we will receive support from both sides of the House for the Finance Bill next week, instead of the Tories—to coin a phrase—talking tough and voting soft.