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Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:39 pm on 5th February 2020.

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Photo of Grant Shapps Grant Shapps The Secretary of State for Transport 4:39 pm, 5th February 2020

I will make a little progress, if the hon. Lady does not mind.

It is important to realise that we are very keen not only to reduce CO2 but to grow the economy at the same time. The two things are not incompatible; in fact, they go hand in hand. We can do this more successfully if we grow the economy, because then we can get in front of the technology. One of the measures in the Prime Minister’s announcement yesterday was to consult on ending petrol and diesel car sales in 2035 or earlier rather than 2040, with the aim of ensuring that the British car manufacturing sector gets the advantage of completely clean travel, which they can then exploit by selling it to the rest of the world. That is one reason why we should be so ambitious to do this. The sector can create jobs—millions of jobs. It is already employing very large numbers of people in this country. This Government want to help society and the economy adapt towards the new decarbonised world.

I recognise—I have said this at the Dispatch Box as recently as last week—that transport contributes over a quarter of the UK’s domestic greenhouse gases; it is a big number. It has become the leading source of greenhouse gases, considering that energy, as described before, has become so much less polluting. That is why, as I say, we came out with the target to move forward with the end of petrol and diesel. That is faster, I should say, than any other European market. In a country that does not produce cars, it is easy to say, “You must only buy an electric car”, but we have a dozen different domestic car producers that we have to take with us on this—and we will. That is why we are investing £1.5 billion over six years to make the UK the best place to own and to manufacture electric cars, and why we are delivering a further £1 billion to transform the automotive sector. Schemes like the Faraday battery challenge and the Advanced Propulsion Centre are funding development of the supply chain, and that can be massively important to this transformation.