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Floor Price (Carbon)

Volume 518: debated on Thursday 11 November 2010

The Chancellor announced in the Budget that the Treasury and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs would publish proposals in the autumn to reform the climate change levy to provide more certainty and support for the carbon price, and to encourage investment in low-carbon electricity generation. DECC officials have been supporting the Treasury and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs in developing these proposals, which will be published shortly.

I thank the Minister for that answer, and I welcome his Department’s consultation on a floor price for carbon. I hope that that will take the place of the tapestry of tariffs and subsidies that distort the market for clean energy. How will he ensure that the price is set at a level that ensures a level playing field and encourages long-term investment, including in nuclear power?

My hon. Friend puts his finger on the most crucial issue in the area. This is one of the most important areas where we will be consulting and taking forward policy in the whole of this Parliament. We have to set it at a level that will stimulate investment, without penalising consumers or reducing the commercial advantage of British companies. That is a priority in our work.

Does the Minister realise that a floor price for carbon that is significantly above the market rate will be seen as a subsidy for the nuclear industry, and how does he justify that?

This is a mechanism to support investment in all low-carbon technologies. We were left with a mountain to climb—£200 billion of new investment—as a result of the failure to secure enough investment in the past. These are part of the crucial measures required to make sure that international investors see the attraction of investing in Britain.