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Net Zero Emissions Target

Treasury – in the House of Commons on 11th February 2020.

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Photo of John Howell John Howell Conservative, Henley

What fiscal steps he is taking to ensure that the Government meets its target of net zero emissions by 2050.

Photo of Simon Clarke Simon Clarke The Exchequer Secretary

The clean growth strategy sets out our proposals for decarbonising all sectors of the UK economy through the course of the 2020s. This year, the Government will be setting out further detail on plans to reduce emissions in key sectors such as transport, energy and buildings, as well as publishing our net zero review.

Photo of John Howell John Howell Conservative, Henley

The next UN climate conference is the perfect opportunity to set out exactly what we are doing to get our emissions down to net zero by 2050. Can the Minister assure me that the Government are committed to doing all they can to achieve that and to delivering the green jobs that come with it?

Photo of Simon Clarke Simon Clarke The Exchequer Secretary

I am a passionate believer in the net zero agenda, and I believe that it is perfectly congruent with economic growth. COP26 presents a huge opportunity for the UK and globally. We are already a leader in tackling climate change, having reduced the emissions intensity of our economy faster than any other G20 country. We will be doing more at Budget.

Photo of George Howarth George Howarth Labour, Knowsley

The Minister will be aware that, as part of the drive towards zero emissions, there was a recent announcement about bringing forward the phasing out of diesel, petrol and hybrid vehicles to 2035. What assessment has he made of the economic and fiscal impact of doing so, and in particular the loss of jobs that will happen, because the industry is in imminent danger of collapse?

Photo of Simon Clarke Simon Clarke The Exchequer Secretary

We are consulting on the option of accelerating the phasing out of petrol and diesel cars, because the average lifespan of a vehicle is around 14 years, and if we are to hit our net zero targets by 2050, we need to be sensitive to that. I can reassure the right hon. Gentleman that we are listening carefully to the industry on this issue. Just last week, I met the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders for a productive conversation on how we can do this in a way that supports the sector.