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Volume 690: debated on Wednesday 10 March 2021

What recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the potential opportunities for Scotland arising from COP26. (913075)

What recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the potential opportunities for Scotland arising from COP26. (913082)

The Secretary of State has regular discussions with Cabinet colleagues on the opportunities COP26 offers Scotland, including through the COP26 Devolved Administrations Ministerial Group. The group brings together the COP President, territorial Secretaries of State and Ministers from the devolved Administrations to support the delivery of an inclusive and welcoming COP26 summit in Glasgow.

Over the past year, many of our national celebrations have been curtailed due to covid. Companies that have accrued decades of specialist event management skills have been severely compromised and risk collapse. However, COP26, with its opening and closing ceremonies, offers the opportunity to showcase the splendour, heritage and culture of our four nations, our one Union. Does my hon. Friend agree that events companies and charities, such as the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, have all that is required to show the world what a good Scottish hooley looks like?

I completely agree with that last point. Certainly, the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, if you have not seen it yourself, Mr Speaker, is a sight to behold. We are working closely in partnership with the Scottish Government and a range of partners to assess the implications of covid-19 for COP26. We want to showcase the best of the UK at COP26 and have recently concluded a process for stakeholders to express their interest in being involved in UK Government-managed spaces to support our objective of making COP26 inclusive and representative of the whole United Kingdom.

Last week’s Budget showed how we will build back greener from this pandemic, delivering a green industrial revolution that benefits every single corner of every single nation in our awesome foursome of the United Kingdom, including millions to transform Scotland into a green energy hub. Does my hon. Friend agree that COP26 is the ideal opportunity for the Government of the UK and the Government of Scotland to work together to showcase our green credentials?

Of course I agree with my hon. Friend. COP26 will be the moment that we secure our path to global net zero emissions by 2050 and define the next decade of tackling climate change. We are working with the Scottish Government and other devolved Administrations to ensure an inclusive and ambitious summit for the whole of the UK. All parts of the UK will have important roles to play in ensuring the summit’s success: not just the devolved Administrations and the constituent nations, but my hon. Friend’s constituency; the town of Milton Keynes has the largest number of electric vehicle charging points, if I am not mistaken. So it is truly a UK-wide initiative.

Dear me, Mr Speaker. Scotland is already a world leader in climate change policy, be it with renewables providing over 90% of supply, home energy efficiency, take-up of electric cars and an impressive charging network, or continuous investment in electric buses and rail electrification. In fact, the RAIL magazine editor said:

“Scotland’s admirable rolling programme of electrification rolls on…well done Scotland. DfT please note this is how it’s done.”

Does the Minister not therefore agree that Scottish representatives should be given a key place at COP26 to share our experience, or are they just too embarrassed by UK policies by comparison?

I agree that Scottish stakeholders, Scottish businesses and a lot of the renewable energies being developed in Scotland are world-leading. I could not possibly disagree with that, but it is important to recognise as well that all parts of the United Kingdom have an important role to play in ensuring the success of the summit. I am sure the hon. Gentleman is as delighted as I am that the summit is to be held in Glasgow, representing the whole of the UK around the world.