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Offshore Wind Sector

Volume 640: debated on Tuesday 1 May 2018

9. What estimate he has made of the number of skilled jobs that will be needed to maintain the offshore wind sector by 2030. (905065)

There are already 14,000 people working in well-paid jobs across our coastal communities in support of this vital sector. My hon. Friend will be pleased to know that we are leaders in both the quantity of offshore wind installed and innovation, and it was great that GE announced last week that the world’s biggest offshore wind turbine will be tested in the UK.

The Minister will be aware that an offshore wind revolution is taking place along the Norfolk coast and, as she mentioned, there is scope for the creation of many jobs. Will she join my campaign to set up an offshore wind energy academy at the Construction Industry Training Board’s Bircham Newton site in west Norfolk to further enhance such skills and to create a centre of excellence?

Joining the skills that we already have in one sector with those in another is an excellent suggestion, and I will be delighted to meet my hon. Friend to discuss it.

Offshore wind is an integral part of the clean growth strategy, which the Government have submitted to the United Nations as their official mid-century decarbonisation plan. However, the independent Committee on Climate Change says that the strategy will fail to meet even our existing targets for 2030. Will the Minister tell us when “mid-century” shifted forward 20 years? Why do the Government think a plan that fails even to deliver a 57% reduction in emissions by 2030 is appropriate to meet the much tougher reduction of a more than 80% reduction by 2050?

Once again, I am amazed at the hon. Gentleman’s ability to turn one of the great success stories of this country—in fact, he wrote an article about this last week that was so poor that he did not even retweet it. The point is that we have—[Interruption.] If he stopped chuntering, perhaps he might learn something. He is most impolite. We have led the world in decarbonising our economy. As the hon. Gentleman knows, we were the first country to set up statutory carbon budgets, and we are on track to meet the first three, as well as to get close to the budgets, based on current policies and proposals, in 10 and 15 years’ time. He will also know that we are the first developed nation to have said that we want to understand how we will get to a zero-carbon economy in 2050, and my request to the committee—[Interruption.] He is doing it again, Mr Speaker; his mother would be horrified by this level of discourtesy. We were the first country in the world to ask how we will get to a decarbonised economy in 2050, and I would hope that we could enjoy cross-party support for something so vital.

I do not want to quibble with the Minister, but I do not think that the hon. Member for Brent North (Barry Gardiner) ever indulges in anything quite so vulgar as sedentary chuntering. He is occasionally given to facial expressions, which are not prohibited by the Standing Orders of the House, and he has a penchant for what might be described as the feline purr.

Will the Minister join me in congratulating the Bibby Line Group on the £80 million that it has invested in two ships to service our offshore wind turbines.

Indeed I will. Not only are we leaders in offshore wind servicing, but there are huge opportunities to work with our world-leading oil and gas industries. We are good at installing, maintaining and servicing complex offshore installations.

And now no chuntering or purring, but simply Gardiner oratory. I call Mr Barry Gardiner. [Interruption.] I thought the hon. Gentleman was coming in a second time. The House is deprived, but I am afraid that it will have to rest content with that situation.