Skip to main content

UK’s Green Industries: Foreign Direct Investment

Volume 712: debated on Thursday 21 April 2022

3. What steps her Department has taken to increase foreign direct investment in the UK’s green industries. (906451)

First, I thank my hon. Friend for her efforts in boosting our nation’s trade with Norway and Iceland as the Prime Minister’s trade envoy.

Last year, on behalf of the Prime Minister, we delivered the global investment summit, which saw almost £10 billion of foreign investment into our offshore wind, hydrogen and electric vehicle sectors. Meanwhile, the Office for Investment landed almost £18 billion of further green deals, and just last month the Prime Minister met Australian investors, who committed more than £20 billion to clean energy projects across the kingdom.

I am proud that the UK is a leader in the G7 in the transition to net zero. I am the trade envoy to Norway and Iceland, where there are huge opportunities to do more to further that transition to net zero. Will my hon. Friend update the House on the discussions we have had specifically with companies in Norway and Iceland?

Can I just say to the Minister that he has his fan club up there in the Public Gallery? It is a pleasure to see his family watching him.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. They were delighted when you waved at them last time.

The United Kingdom is committed to deepening her partnership with Norway and Iceland, which was reinforced by the trade deal that I signed in July last year. It is one of our greenest deals ever and preserves our right to regulate to reach our net zero targets. Twin-tracking alongside that free trade agreement, we continue to collaborate on the development of green technologies such as the North sea link interconnector, which links the electricity systems of the United Kingdom and Norway and will increase the capacity of our renewable markets.

The recent ScotWind announcement from the Scottish Government cements Scotland’s place as the world leader for floating offshore wind energy. It represents an incredible opportunity for unparalleled levels of inward investment while also taking meaningful action on climate change. Will the Minister join me in congratulating the SNP Scottish Government on making Scotland a global leader in offshore wind energy? Will he pledge to do all in his power to support this fantastic international trade and transition opportunity?

I am not sure about wind power, but there is already a lot of hot air in the House. I am delighted that the SNP now supports the British energy security strategy, which champions the power of offshore wind energy. I am also delighted that foreign investors are already responding to the United Kingdom Government’s proposals, including in the form of a sovereign investment partnership with the United Arab Emirates, which is investing £10 billion, including funds for energy transition.

I will forgive the Minister for showing off to his family, but this is an important issue. A net exporter of energy, Scotland has 25% of Europe’s offshore wind potential and is perfectly placed to step in to help Europe to pivot away from dependency on Russian oil and gas and towards renewable energy. Indeed, it is estimated that up to 30 GW could be available to export through ScotWind and INTOG—the innovation and targeted oil and gas process—and on top of that a manufacturing superhub at Nigg and Cromarty firth could export components throughout Europe, thereby reversing the historical position across the UK of importing technology, and so boosting trade. Specifically, will the Minister commit his Government to working with the Scottish Government to maximise this massive transition and international trade opportunity?

I am delighted to say that next week the Secretary of State will be in Aberdeen, demonstrating this Government’s commitment to the whole of the United Kingdom. We work with devolved Administrations across the kingdom to make sure that every corner of the country benefits from international trade. The truth is that while we are batting for every corner of the country, backing British businesses and supporting Scottish jobs, the SNP wants to cut Scotland off from its largest market, which is the British internal market.

Foreign investment in our green industries is extremely beneficial and welcome, as my Cleethorpes constituency can bear out. Equally, British-based companies have great opportunities to export our expertise in the green sector. What initiatives is the Department taking to develop those opportunities?

I always welcome my hon. Friend’s support for our agenda. The Department has already launched interventions to support international investment into all corners of the country. Those interventions include the high potential opportunities programme and the trade and investment hubs. The hub in Darlington assists more than 1,000 foreign direct investment projects throughout the country which will drive the technology forward.