Skip to main content

Clean Growth: New Jobs

Volume 670: debated on Tuesday 21 January 2020

My hon. Friend will be pleased to hear that we are determined to seize the economic opportunities of the net zero transition. We hope to create 2 million green jobs across the UK by 2030. He will also know that just last week the Office for National Statistics announced that, under this Government, 466,000 people in this country are employed in low-carbon businesses and their supply chains.

The electrification of vehicles is an important area of clean growth, and the London Electric Vehicle Company, which is based in my constituency, is manufacturing the new electric taxi. It has created 500 new jobs, with 3,000 taxis now on London roads. The Prime Minister visited very recently and managed to drive one of the taxis without knocking down a wall. Does the Minister agree that if we are to make the switch to electric affordable for taxi drivers, thereby making a major contribution to reducing CO2 emissions and improving air quality, the current plug-in taxi grant is a vital incentive?

I agree with my hon. Friend. I am delighted to hear that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister drove the car without any incident or untoward events happening. The fact that more than 3,000 of LEVC’s Coventry-made electric taxis are in London is a fantastic milestone. I also agree that the Government’s plug-in taxi grant is vital to the uptake and roll-out of these vehicles.

Wind turbines, electrifying our railways and electric vehicles all need steel. What are the Government doing to help our steel industry at this challenging time?

The hon. Lady will be pleased to hear that we have a strategy, and she is right. Decarbonising industry in general is vital, but we remain committed to UK steel and steel production in this country, and that is something the Department is very concerned with.

I welcome my right hon. Friend’s comments on this important issue. Does he agree that this country has an amazing potential to continue to grow our economy dramatically by supporting new green industries?

My right hon. Friend is right. As I have mentioned before at the Dispatch Box, it is remarkable that we have managed to reduce our carbon emissions by 40% in the past 30 years while growing our economy by two thirds. That is living proof of the remarkable fact that that we can decarbonise, grow and promote economic expansion at the same time. This is something in which we in this country are world leaders.

I am sure that the Minister agrees that there is a wealth of skills and transferrable jobs in existing energy industries that may well be supplanted by low-carbon energy industries in the not too distant future. What steps is he taking to capture those skills and transfer those jobs to low-carbon industries in the future?

The hon. Gentleman will be pleased to know that we have sector deals handling exactly that problem, for example in the oil and gas sector. We are making a successful transition from old industries to the new low-carbon-emitting, greener industries of the future. Offshore wind, of which there are a number of examples—I believe that there is a supply chain near the hon. Gentleman’s constituency—is a great success: we have 35% of global capacity. That is part of the transformation of the economy that we are talking about.