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Energy Policy (Regional Devolution)

Energy and Climate Change – in the House of Commons at 9:30 am on 19th March 2015.

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Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour, Huddersfield 9:30 am, 19th March 2015

What assessment he has made of the potential merits of devolving energy policy to a regional level.

Photo of Matthew Hancock Matthew Hancock Minister of State (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), Minister of State for Portsmouth, The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change

We are proposing further devolution to Scotland and Wales consistent with the need for an efficient and good-value energy system throughout Great Britain.

Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour, Huddersfield

Is it not high time that the regions of the United Kingdom had a chance to have some power over energy policy? Yorkshire in particular, with its offshore wind power and its other resources, knows a lot about energy. Does not all the evidence show that if we grass-root energy policy, even at a community level, and give people ownership of it, perhaps through social systems of ownership, it works better? Taking energy policy down to the grass roots binds people into a good policy.

Photo of Matthew Hancock Matthew Hancock Minister of State (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), Minister of State for Portsmouth, The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change

No matter how great a county Yorkshire is—it is, indeed, a great county—[Interruption.] —we need to make sure that the system works on a GB-wide basis and that it is as efficient as possible. I agree with the hon. Gentleman that the ability to access distribution networks and indeed the wider grid to ensure that those producing electricity can connect to nearby demand will enhance the ability of communities to play a part. I can see where he is going, but I am not sure that breaking up the GB-wide energy system is the best way to reach a solution.

Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Speaker of the House of Commons, Speaker of the House of Commons

I note that a Lancastrian Whip blurted out what might be described as a competitive chant when the right hon. Gentleman was hailing the merits of Yorkshire, but I will not draw any further attention to the matter.