EU Referendum: Energy and Environment

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:25 pm on 12th July 2016.

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Photo of Amber Rudd Amber Rudd The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change 1:25 pm, 12th July 2016

I thank my hon. Friend for clarifying that position, which will no doubt give Caroline Lucas as much comfort as it has given me.

I want to make some more comments on investor confidence, which is central to this afternoon’s debate. Since the referendum, I have met investors from across the energy spectrum: nuclear, renewables, energy efficiency—all areas in which we need investment. Yesterday, I spoke to members of the managing board of Siemens to reassure them of the commitments that I am setting out here today. Officials across my Department have regularly kept in contact with investors and energy companies to reiterate that message.

The message from business is clear. It still sees the UK is a great place to invest in. Britain remains one of the best places in the world in which to live and to do business. We have the rule of law, low taxes, a strong finance sector and a talented, creative and determined workforce. We have to build on those strengths, not turn away from them. Those factors combine with a clear energy policy framework and a strong investment-friendly economy to make the UK an ideal place to attract much-needed energy investment. The UK has been the fourth highest investor in clean energy globally for the past five years. This is investment in the energy infrastructure that we need to underpin a strong competitive economy, and this Government will do all we can to ensure that the UK remains an attractive place for investment. Whatever settlement we decide on in the coming months, those fundamentals will remain unchanged.

I want to underline our commitment to addressing climate change. Climate change has not been downgraded as a threat. It remains one of the most serious long-term risks to our economic and national security. I attended the world-class team of British diplomats at last year’s Paris climate talks. Our efforts were central to delivering that historic deal, and the UK will not step back from that international leadership. We must not turn our back on Europe or the world. Our relationships with the United States, China, India and Japan and with other European countries will stand us in strong stead as we deliver on the promises made in Paris. At the heart of that commitment is our own Climate Change Act 2008. The Act was not imposed on us by the EU; it was entirely home grown. It was also a world first and a prime example of the UK setting the agenda that others are now following. And let us not forget that it was delivered with unanimous support from right across the House.