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Green Technologies: Investment

Volume 748: debated on Tuesday 16 April 2024

The UK has already made tremendous progress in securing investment in green technologies. Recent figures indicate that the UK saw £60 billion of investment in 2023, meaning that since 2010 the UK has seen £300 billion of public and private investment in low-carbon sectors. As a Department, the ministerial team and I meet regularly with investors, such as through our second hydrogen investor forum event and regular roundtables to understand how we can better encourage investment.

It is true that the UK has a remarkable track record of winning investment in green technology, but given that other countries are now proceeding apace with their own green investment plans, does my hon. Friend agree that if we can show that we have effective policies for speeding up planning consents for energy projects and expanding grid capacity at a far faster rate, and if we can fix our contracts for difference regime, we shall be able to demonstrate to investors once again that this is the very best place in which to invest in such technology?

My right hon. Friend is right: we have a proud record of investment in green and clean technologies, and in many respects we are leading the world in that regard. Last year we launched our Giga project and this year we are launching CfD allocation round 6, which is the stand-out leader when it comes to enticing investors—but of course we can go faster and further, and where we can we will. That is why I am so pleased to see the work that is being done within my Department and, indeed, with industry with the aim of doing just that.

Given that there is no more important technology in the UK’s green industries than hydrogen, I was pleased to note that, after much dilly-dallying, the Department had listened to my continued advocacy of hydrogen blending in pipes. I look forward to seeing its plans imminently, but what support is it giving to home appliance providers who want to take advantage of the benefits of hydrogen to create hydrogen-ready technology that can be used for both blended and fully hydrogen-powered appliances?

My hon. Friend is another doughty champion for one of the expanding sectors in which we are investing: his championing of the hydrogen industry in this country is unmatched. I should be happy to meet him to discuss how we can progress further and speed up investment in hydrogen, which will be key to securing the progress of so many of our ambitious projects.

Along with my hon. Friend the Member for Paisley and Renfrewshire North (Gavin Newlands), I co-chaired the all-party parliamentary group on green deal mis-selling. After nearly 10 years, we are still waiting for justice for our constituents who were told to invest in green technologies for their homes. A legal process is under way, but it is very lengthy. Most of our affected constituents were over 70 when all this happened, and some were over 80.

There must be a political solution. Numerous Prime Ministers and Secretaries of State have agreed that what happened to our constituents was dreadful, so why do they not find a solution that will encourage other people to feel confident that they too can invest in green technologies in the knowledge that the Government have their backs should it go wrong?

I agree with the hon. Lady that what happened was dreadful. As she has said, an ongoing legal process is under way so I am restricted in what I can say at the Dispatch Box, but I should be happy to meet her in the coming days to discuss the specifics involving her constituents who were affected.

The south-west is proud to be punching above its weight in green technology, and will soon welcome a £4 billion gigafactory at the Gravity site near Bridgwater which will create 4,000 new jobs and boost the green economy. Investment in infrastructure around the country is needed if we are to see more developments of that kind, so what steps is the Department planning to facilitate such ventures?

It is fantastic to hear Liberal Democrats champion Conservative policies that are bringing investment and new jobs into the country—for that is what happens under a Conservative Government—and it is great that a gigafactory is planned for the south-west. As a result of Giga and so many of the other projects and funds launched by the Department, we expect to see many more such developments, but of course there is work to be done: we can go further and faster, and, as I have said, where we can we will. I look forward to working with the hon. Lady in further championing the UK as the destination of choice for all who want to invest in these new technologies.