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Volume 494: debated on Thursday 25 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will discuss with the Vestas turbine company the future of its factories in Southampton and on the Isle of Wight. (278380)

The Department and my predecessor have held discussions with Vestas regarding their announcement to consult on the future of their UK manufacturing capacity. No sector is immune from the economic downturn, and we are taking urgent action to ensure manufacturers can invest with confidence to supply the onshore and offshore wind markets, including the announcement in the Budget of up to £4 billion of new capital from the European Investment Bank that could support UK renewable energy projects, which should provide confidence for the onshore wind supply chain, and an intention to consult on a time-limited uplift in the level of support for offshore wind through the Renewables Obligation.

I recognise that commercial decisions on the supply of turbines for renewable generation are a matter for the companies concerned. SEEDA, the local regional development agency, has established a task force to provide a package of co-ordinated support that provides the company and its employees with advice and guidance during the consultation period, including—if Vestas' consultation does lead to redundancies—support on every opportunity for seeking alternative employment, training and re-skilling.