Hydrogen Technology: Fiscal Support

Treasury – in the House of Commons on 1st December 2020.

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Photo of Michael Fabricant Michael Fabricant Conservative, Lichfield

What fiscal steps he is taking to support investment in (a) hydrogen fuel cell usage in the automotive industry and (b) the UK’s hydrogen economy; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Kemi Badenoch Kemi Badenoch The Exchequer Secretary

The Government are supporting the development of the early fuel cell electric vehicle market through the £23 million hydrogen for transport programme. The spending review confirmed an automotive transformation fund to help industry transition to low-carbon vehicles. At the spending review, the Chancellor also announced £240 million over the next four years to support the aim of 5 GW of low-carbon hydrogen by 2030.

Photo of Michael Fabricant Michael Fabricant Conservative, Lichfield

I thank my hon. Friend for her answer. The West Midlands Rail Executive and I are both very keen to re-establish passenger traffic on the Lichfield to Burton railway line, which currently is used just for freight traffic—it would stop, too, at the National Memorial Arboretum. The plan is that the locomotives will be powered by hydrogen fuel cells. Does my hon. Friend not agree with me that the levelling up fund would be ideal for that project?

Photo of Kemi Badenoch Kemi Badenoch The Exchequer Secretary

My hon. Friend is, as ever, a great champion for his local area. I understand that Transport for West Midlands, in partnership with Staffordshire Council and the local rail executive, has already engaged with the Restoring Your Railway fund. Regarding the specific proposal he is referencing, the Department for Transport has announced that there will be a further round of bidding for the fund. Other aspects of the proposal might be eligible for support from the £4 billion levelling- up fund; the Government will set out more details on eligibility in due course.