Transition to Net Zero

Scotland – in the House of Commons on 16th March 2022.

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Photo of Dean Russell Dean Russell Chair, Speaker's Advisory Committee on Works of Art

What steps the Government are taking to support Scotland’s transition to net zero.

Photo of Alister Jack Alister Jack The Secretary of State for Scotland

The Government’s net zero strategy outlines a comprehensive set of measures to transition to a green and sustainable future. This will support hundreds of thousands of well-paid jobs and leverage up to £90 billion of private investment by 2030 across the entire United Kingdom, including Scotland. All previously licensed fields, such as Cambo, are accounted for in projected production and estimated emissions. We are confident that they can be developed, even as we seek to achieve our commitment to net zero by 2050.

Photo of Dean Russell Dean Russell Chair, Speaker's Advisory Committee on Works of Art

Yesterday, I met my “Dean’s Green Team” in Watford to talk about initiatives around making sure that the economy is greener and having a better environment. Does my right hon. Friend agree that the net zero strategy is even more important for energy security and that we are stronger as a Union when we work together on that?

Photo of Alister Jack Alister Jack The Secretary of State for Scotland

I agree with my hon. Friend. I know he is a great champion of net zero policies. As the Prime Minister set out earlier this week, now more than ever what the UK needs is a balanced approach to energy. Both the North sea and renewables can help guarantee a secure energy supply for households and businesses without relying on foreign imports, and it is greatly to be regretted that we cannot agree a UK-wide position on these issues, because by opposing the development of new oil and gas fields, the Scottish National party and the Greens risk driving jobs and investment elsewhere. However, I say to those working in the industry that fortunately for them, oil and gas is a matter reserved to the Westminster Government.

Photo of Liz Twist Liz Twist Opposition Whip (Commons), Shadow Minister (Scotland)

Our journey to net zero is critical not only to saving the planet, but to weaning us off any reliance on Russian gas. ScotWind, the largest offshore wind project in the world, has huge potential, but we must also live up to our values and ensure that Scotland’s wind is not being used to power Putin’s war. Will the Secretary of State ask Scottish Ministers to conduct an audit of ScotWind to guarantee that no ill-gotten Russian money is part of its financing and ensure that all successful contracts for difference are free of Russian involvement?

Photo of Alister Jack Alister Jack The Secretary of State for Scotland

As the hon. Lady will know—she makes a fair point—ScotWind is a matter for the Scottish Government, but I am sure they will be doing all they can to ensure that no Russian money is financing any of the successful contracts. On contracts for difference, the UK Government are working to ensure that no Russian money is underpinning UK infrastructure.

Photo of Stephen Flynn Stephen Flynn Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

You have to admire the brass neck of the Secretary of State, because it is his Government who have failed to deliver carbon capture and underground storage in Scotland, it is his Government who have failed to match fund the Scottish Government’s just transition fund, and it is his Government who oversee Scotland paying the highest electricity transmission charges in the entirety of Europe. When will he stop doffing his cap to Westminster and stand up for Scotland’s renewable future?

Photo of Alister Jack Alister Jack The Secretary of State for Scotland

I agree with the hon. Gentleman on this point, and we have raised it many times with Ofgem, but it is an independent regulator, and it is looking again at transition charge reform.