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Skilled Green Jobs

Volume 656: debated on Tuesday 19 March 2019

As the hon. Lady will know, nearly 400,000 people—more than the number employed in aerospace—are working in the low-carbon economy. As last week’s offshore wind sector deal made clear, the focus on job creation is paramount, but we must also focus more on diversity in the sector, and I am very proud of the commitment by the industry and the Government to ensuring that at least a third of the 27,000 jobs that will be created are going to women by 2030.

Lewisham Council recently declared a climate emergency, and called for urgent action on the environment. Tackling climate change will require a radical transformation of the economy and society, including investment in green industries. Will the Minister match Labour’s commitment to a green industrial revolution creating 400,000 jobs across the country?

I always admire the hon. Lady’s enthusiasm, but committing themselves to a target that we have already achieved is perhaps not the most stretching thing that the Opposition could do. However, I welcome Lewisham Council’s declaration of a climate emergency. My local authority, Wiltshire County Council, has done the same.

I am struck by the sense of urgency in schools and local authorities, and among people throughout the United Kingdom, but we must ensure that the plans we come up with are deliverable and not pie in the sky. Many people have criticised the Opposition’s rather fanciful projections, which they say will never be delivered. I am in the business of delivering policies that add up, can be delivered, and stand the test of time.

Jaguar Land Rover is moving to the production of electric cars, but one of the issues that holds back purchasing is range and the time that it takes to recharge their batteries. What can the Government do to improve battery technology?

Range anxiety is diminishing as battery technology improves. My hon. Friend will know of the Faraday challenge, a cross-Government and industry commitment to not only improving battery manufacturing and technology, but creating some of that value here in the UK.