New Clause 22 — Interpretation of the green purposes: duty to assess impact on the Climate Change Act 2008

Part of Relationship, Drug and Alcohol Education (Curriculum) – in the House of Commons at 3:30 pm on 17th October 2012.

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Photo of Iain Wright Iain Wright Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills) 3:30 pm, 17th October 2012

I know that the Liberal Democrats have such power and significance in the coalition that they will be able to advance that proposal. If it is one of their manifesto or conference commitments, it will certainly happen. That might not look as sarcastic as it should do in Hansard, Mr Deputy Speaker.

The serious and important point at the heart of amendment 76 and amendment 89, tabled by the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion, is the question of the extent to which we can have the green investment bank operating at scale as quickly as possible, ensuring that it can borrow from the capital markets as quickly as possible and be a major ingredient in the stimulus for growth while at the same time being mindful of the deterioration in the public finances that has largely been caused by the Government’s economic policies. The emphasis on austerity means that tax receipts are going down and benefit payments are going up, so borrowing figures have had to rise by more than a fifth in the past year alone.

Let me go back to the point made by Neil Carmichael. I mentioned Government amendments 1 and 3 and I find it baffling that the amendments state that investments can be considered

“whether in the United Kingdom or elsewhere”.

I fully appreciate and support the need to tackle climate change and the transition to a low-carbon economy on an international and multilateral level. The hon. Gentleman was quite right to say that supply chains are somewhat more complex than they would be if they were solely domesticated. How on earth, however, do these Government amendments to an enterprise Bill that was supposedly designed to improve the competitiveness of the UK economy help to stimulate enterprise and economic activity in this sector in Britain? Is there not a huge risk that Britain’s potential as a world leader in this field will be lost as a direct result of the Government’s amendments? I ask the Minister to think again and to reflect on the amendments we have tabled and on the new clause.

As we have only 17 minutes left to debate this subject, which is incredibly important for the future of this country, I shall now take my seat.