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CO2 Emissions Targets (Skills)

Energy and Climate Change – in the House of Commons at 10:30 am on 9th July 2009.

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Photo of Jim Cunningham Jim Cunningham Labour, Coventry South 10:30 am, 9th July 2009

What discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills on the skills required from the work force in order to meet targets for reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.

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Photo of Joan Ruddock Joan Ruddock Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change)

Ministers and officials in DECC and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills have worked together to develop the Government's low-carbon industrial strategy. It will set out how Government will work with employers, unions and training and education providers to address key skills gaps in the transition to a low-carbon economy. This issue affects work forces throughout the UK.

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Photo of Jim Cunningham Jim Cunningham Labour, Coventry South

I thank my hon. Friend for that answer, but can she say how much the Government are actually investing in the low-carbon industries and what the economic benefits will be?

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Photo of Joan Ruddock Joan Ruddock Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change)

The Budget 2009 announced £1.4 billion of new spending to support the low-carbon sector. That will contribute to a total of £10.4 billion of low-carbon and energy investment over the next three years. I do not think you would allow me to read the whole list, Mr. Speaker, but that includes £405 million for the development and employment of low-carbon technologies, improved insulation for homes, low-cost loans for small and medium-sized enterprises, energy efficiency loans for public sector organisations and so on. There are currently 880,000 people employed in the sector, and we expect that number to grow.

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Photo of Michael Weir Michael Weir Shadow Spokesperson (Trade and Industry), Shadow Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

The Minister will be aware of the recent report by the Select Committee on Energy and Climate Change on the UK oil and gas industry, and the point that it made about the transfer of skills from that industry to offshore renewables. In particular, the technology for offshore wind is very different from that for onshore wind. What will the Government do to encourage the use of facilities in the UK to build offshore wind turbines and create an industry here?

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Photo of Joan Ruddock Joan Ruddock Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change)

The way in which we will undertake that will be more obvious to the hon. Gentleman when the low-carbon industrial strategy and the skills strategy that goes with it are published. We are, of course, working intensely with the industry. The oil industry has a remarkable record of innovation and skills, and if we can have those skills deployed in other sectors for a low-carbon economy, that will give a great boost to the way in which this country can progress into that economy.

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