Net Zero Emissions

Treasury – in the House of Commons on 2nd November 2021.

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Photo of Matthew Pennycook Matthew Pennycook Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

What fiscal steps he is taking to contribute towards achieving the Government’s net zero emissions target.

Photo of Mohammad Yasin Mohammad Yasin Labour, Bedford

What fiscal steps he is taking to contribute towards achieving the Government’s net zero emissions target.

Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer The Financial Secretary to the Treasury

As 120 world leaders gather in Glasgow today, Matthew Pennycook asks a very pertinent question. Our net zero strategy outlines measures to enable us to make the transition to a green and sustainable future. As for fiscal measures, the Budget and spending review commit us to £30 billion of public investment towards net zero.

Photo of Matthew Pennycook Matthew Pennycook Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

There is an obvious and pressing need for all fiscal announcements to be fully aligned with our country’s net zero target. To that end, will the Minister commit herself to at least the publication of the estimated emissions impact of decisions in future Budgets and spending reviews?

Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer The Financial Secretary to the Treasury

The hon. Member will know that in our Budget we set out a number of measures to enable us to make the transition to a net zero world. We have made announcements relating to transport and warmer, greener buildings as well as energy and industry, and of course the Treasury always considers the impact in relation to net zero targets.

Photo of Mohammad Yasin Mohammad Yasin Labour, Bedford

The Chancellor claims to want to tackle climate change and improve air quality through measures including the decarbonising of transport. If he is serious, this week of COP26 presents him with a great opportunity to commit himself to the electrification of the East West Rail line from day one to avoid the need for diesel locomotives and the future costs of retrofitting. Will he make that commitment today?

Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer The Financial Secretary to the Treasury

The hon. Gentleman has raised the important issues of electrification and the importance of making our transport green. As he will have seen, the Budget provided research and development funding to commercialise low and zero emissions technologies. I would be happy to talk to him about the local issue he raised.

Photo of Fay Jones Fay Jones Conservative, Brecon and Radnorshire

I thank the Chancellor and the Treasury team for the significant levelling-up funds awarded to my constituency in the Budget last week. Hydrogen will be key to net zero, and one project that will be able to benefit from that investment is Riversimple, a hydrogen fuel cell car manufacturer in Llandrindod Wells. So that we can reach our net zero targets as early as possible, may I urge the Minister to visit Llandod, meet representatives of Riversimple, learn about what they do, and above all give us the chance to say thank you in person?

Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer The Financial Secretary to the Treasury

I am very pleased that my hon. Friend’s constituency has benefited and is taking part in the progress towards net zero. I should be happy to visit her there.

Photo of Abena Oppong-Asare Abena Oppong-Asare Shadow Exchequer Secretary (Treasury)

In his Budget statement last week, the Chancellor did not use the word “climate'” once. On the biggest issue of our time, he had nothing to say.

As well as deciding to cut domestic air passenger duty, which will lead to 400,000 more domestic flights a year, the Chancellor failed to invest in public transport. He is subsidising those who can already afford to take domestic flights, while putting up taxes on ordinary people. How on earth does he think that this sends the right message as the COP26 summit begins? Is not the reality that he is flying in completely the wrong direction when it comes to tackling climate change?

Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer The Financial Secretary to the Treasury

I am sure the hon. Lady will have seen the net zero strategy, which was published the week before the Budget. I am sure she will also know about the significant progress that the Chancellor has made on bringing other countries together to increase the international effort on climate finance. Yesterday, we set out our commitment to increase our international climate finance by £1 billion by 2025, on top of the £11 billion that we have already announced. The Chancellor, together with other Finance Ministers, is making sure that we help to reduce to net zero emissions through a number of measures. I am very happy to—

Photo of Alison Thewliss Alison Thewliss Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Treasury)

COP26 is under way in my constituency, and the Scottish Government have set an ambitious target to reach net zero by 2045. In contrast, the Minister has completely failed to justify the cut to air passenger duty on internal flights while allowing the already eye-watering price of train tickets to rise again at the turn of the year. This is no pro-Union policy, as the Government like to pretend, because 62% of Scots think that cutting APD is entirely the wrong priority. So, in this week of COP, will the Minister do her bit for the planet and scrap this climate-damaging policy once and for all?

Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer The Financial Secretary to the Treasury

I am grateful to have this opportunity to address the issue of air passenger duty. The hon. Member will know that, as well as cutting the duty on domestic flights, we have increased taxation on long-haul flights. She will also know that domestic flights are contributing less than 1% of the UK’s carbon emissions.