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Paris Agreement on Climate Change

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:08 pm on 7th September 2016.

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Photo of Nia Griffith Nia Griffith Labour, Llanelli 5:08 pm, 7th September 2016

Absolutely—indeed it would.

Sadly, the Government’s record has not been very good to date. The green deal was a complete fiasco. It proved to be a very unattractive deal, as the figures show, with only 2.7% of those who had had the assessment done actually taking out the investment in energy-efficiency measures. Indeed, many of us have had constituents who have experienced real difficulties with the scheme. It is no wonder that the National Audit Office was scathing in its assessment, pointing out what poor value for money the scheme was. In spite of warnings from the Labour Benches about the scheme’s faults, the Government did not do anything to improve it.

The sudden ending of the scheme in itself produced problems. One constituent of mine, who was in receipt of pension credit, paid for an up-front survey. She then found she had difficulty getting a copy of that survey. After I chased it up, we got the copy but found that it was too late and the scheme was no longer up and running. She lost her money on that survey. That is an appalling situation in which to leave a pensioner in receipt of pension credit.

There is an awful lot more to do on very simple matters, such as recycling. We should be trying to ensure as many products as possible are either completely recyclable, such as steel, or biodegradable. For example, will the Government consider banning polystyrene takeaway trays, as some local authorities are already seeking to do, and asking catering businesses to use alternative, biodegradable ones?

I very much welcome the inclusion in the Department’s title the words “industrial strategy”. I very much hope the Government are really serious about developing consistent long-term policies for both manufacturing and energy. Business leaders are crying out for clarity and consistency. The Government are continually moving the goalposts, which completely reduces business confidence. We saw that in the massive job losses in the solar industry when the feed-in tariff regime was changed at short notice. To get businesses to invest in energy projects and measures to help us reduce our emissions and tackle climate change, we need long-term certainty from the Government.

As we no longer intend to remain in the EU, companies need to know exactly what the Government are going to offer them. Sadly, Ford in Bridgend has slashed its investment plans from £181 million down to £100 million, and instead of creating 700 jobs it will be creating only 500 jobs. That is really, really worrying. The Government urgently need to provide the certainty and reassurance that the UK will be a good place to invest in and that we have the right sort of policies that both favour industrial development and reduce emissions. We need to ensure we are seen as a place in which to invest. More than anything else, I urge the Government to get on with the carbon plan. It is very important that the carbon plan is a major part of their strategy, that the “industrial strategy” part of the title of the Department becomes a reality, and that we give the certainty that investors need for the future of our country.