It is normal practice, when a Government Department proposes to undertake a contingent liability in excess of £300,000 for which there is no specific statutory authority, for the Minister concerned to present a departmental minute to Parliament giving particulars of the liability created and explaining the circumstances; and to refrain from incurring the liability until 14 parliamentary sitting days after the issue of the statement, except in cases of special urgency.
I have today laid a departmental minute outlining details of a new liability being undertaken by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office to support South Africa’s Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP). This guarantee will reduce the impact of climate change and support an important legacy of the UK’s COP presidency, the Just Energy Transition Partnership with South Africa. The $1billion guarantee facility will support projects in South Africa’s JETP investment plan, which has been drafted by the South African Government with the input of international partners—the United States, the UK, the European Union, France and Germany. The investment plan sets out areas for investment in renewable energy, hydrogen, electric vehicles and the coal mining region.
An announcement on the South Africa Just Energy Transition Partnership is expected to be made at COP27, which is between 6 and 18 November 2022. Any announcement on this UK guarantee will note that the guarantee is subject to the parliamentary notification process being completed. The Public Accounts Committee, the Foreign Affairs Committee and the International Development Committee have been notified of this.
FCDO Ministers and HM Treasury have approved this guarantee proposal. If, during the next 14 parliamentary sitting days, a Member signifies an objection by giving notice of a parliamentary question or by otherwise raising the matter in Parliament, final approval to proceed with incurring the liability will be withheld pending an examination of the objection.