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A Green Industrial Revolution

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:25 pm on 15th January 2020.

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Photo of Vicky Ford Vicky Ford Conservative, Chelmsford 3:25 pm, 15th January 2020

It has been a pleasure to be in the Chamber this afternoon listening to the excellent maiden speeches from my hon. Friends the Members for Barrow and Furness (Simon Fell), for East Surrey (Claire Coutinho) and for Birmingham, Northfield (Gary Sambrook). Birmingham, Northfield is a place that I still hold very close to my political heart.

It is fitting that Members are making maiden speeches on the Queen’s Speech. As a one-nation Conservative, I warmly welcome this Queen’s Speech and the opportunity it unlocks for people all across our country. In particular, I welcome the investment in public services—in our NHS, in our police and in our schools. It is only because of our strong economy and the legacy of the past decade of Conservative-led Government that we can invest in our public services.

The world is changing at a remarkable rate. We are in the fourth industrial revolution. To maintain that strong economy, we need to continue to invest in science and technology and innovation. As a bit of a science geek, I welcome the Queen’s Speech commitment to keeping us as a world leader in science, to boosting our R and D funding and to unlocking innovation.

Innovation is not new in my constituency of Chelmsford. Exactly 100 years ago Marconi chose to locate its radar factory in Chelmsford, and 100 years ago the great Australian singer Dame Nellie made the first ever radio broadcast from Chelmsford—she sang to the world. We led the world that day in a communications revolution that we are still living through today. Marconi chose Chelmsford because of the skills of the people there and because of the infrastructure. Infrastructure matters, and, as the person who has been honoured to chair the all-party group on infrastructure in this Parliament, I believe that it is vital that we continue to invest in our infrastructure, as this Government propose.

Failing infrastructure is a big issue in my constituency. Our flyover, on which we have relied for many decades, suffered terminal damage in last summer’s heatwave. In Chelmsford, we have already seen how our infrastructure has to be climate change resilient. That is just one of the reasons why I have chosen to speak today on the green economy. Climate change is the biggest threat to our future. We have only one planet. The science is clear: we have to stop emissions, and we must achieve net zero.

I am proud that we are the first major economy to commit to net zero. We need to turn net zero into reality, and that means we need to have net zero embedded in all the decisions made at national and local government levels. We need a clear pathway.