Luciana Berger MP, Labour’s Shadow Climate Change Minster, today warned that the Government has failed its pledge to be the ‘greenest government ever’ and is making the wrong choices for Britain’s green economy, in a speech to the Westminster Energy Forum.
In a speech which reflected on the Government’s record since entering office she concluded that cuts, delays and falling investment in the low carbon economy show that 2011 was the year when the Conservatives abandoned their husky hugging image.
Luciana Berger MP said:
“For many 2011 has come to be seen as the end of the Conservatives’ green detoxification – the year the husky died.
“When David Cameron pledged to led the ‘greenest government ever’, I’m not sure many would have predicted that little over a year later, Britain would have fallen from 3rd to 13th for investment in low carbon technology;
“Feed in Tariffs would be cut by over 50%, cutting the solar industry off at its knees and risking 25,000 jobs just before Christmas.
“Or that the £1bn of funding for CCS which was seemingly guaranteed would be ‘redeployed’ to other infrastructure budgets, putting its entire future in doubt.
“It’s clear from the many low carbon businesses, investors, employees and green groups I speak to, the early optimism has now died away. Instead over the past twelve months we’ve seen a divided government, unable to stand up for the low carbon agenda, against vested interests that want to continue with business as usual.”
She also identified three challenges that the Government is currently failing to meet:
1. Rebuilding our economy and creating the growth in low carbon industries which will sustain it in the future.
2. Meeting our climate change targets and ending price volatility while maintaining security of supply.
3. And reforming the energy market, so that it works for hard working bills payers up and down the country and not just the big six energy companies.
She argued that the uncertainty and damage caused from cutting solar feed in tariffs by 52%, inadequate Electricity Market Reform proposals and ministers failure to stand up for consumers against the energy companies is holding back Britain’s low carbon revolution.
Luciana Berger MP said:
“As if it wasn’t bad enough for the Prime Minister to put Britain in the slow lane of Europe at the weekend, it’s even worse that the Chancellor has left us on the hard shoulder when it comes to building a low carbon economy.
“It might sound good to the Conservative Party Conference for the Chancellor to talk down the green economy.
“But what does it say to those companies who want to put their money behind carbon capture and storage or renewable investments? To the small business owner who’s thinking of providing energy efficient goods? To the manufacturer planning to build the parts for a new generation of wind farms or solar panels? It says think again.
“And how must the 800,000 currently working in the UK’s low carbon economy feel? The Chancellor shouldn’t be talking down the work they do. They aren’t part of the problem; they are part of the solution.
“The Government’s lack of ambition is holding us back, damaging confidence and deterring investment.”