Energy: Annual Statement — Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:55 pm on 27th July 2010.

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Photo of Lord Marland Lord Marland The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change 3:55 pm, 27th July 2010

My Lords, I will try to avoid getting in any cross-party banter, which the noble Lord thinks is appropriate. After all, energy and energy supply require a broad coalition of all parties to deliver the long-term supply to this country. It is ridiculous to have small cross-party scraps and I do not intend to do that. We have been faced with difficult fiscal circumstances, as would the Labour Party had it been in government. Certain things need dramatic and careful looking at in order to see whether we can afford them. Unfortunately, we have gone from a "yes yes" Government to a "perhaps not" Government. If something does not make sense we will not do it.

I take exception to being quoted out of context by Ed Miliband in the other place and the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, over onshore energy windmills. I was clear that we endorsed the scenario of 14 gigawatts, a scenario that was presented to us by the previous Government. I merely said that going beyond that was not our main focus. Our main focus is to build offshore, nuclear, renewables, et cetera. For those who wish to study it, the 2050 pathway-a very impressive discussion document which I commend to the House-will show clearly that in order to achieve our energy commitments by 2050 we will have to push hard on all fronts. That is why I can say with great confidence, and reiterate what I have said earlier, that we are committed to nuclear. One reason for removing the IPC is to deliver much quicker and much more effective planning decisions without the bureaucracy that has been alluded to. In the past few weeks, we have given seven grants to seven British companies to deliver products for the offshore market, so we are very committed to that.

The noble Lord also knows that we take poverty very seriously, which is why yesterday we had a special instrument to extend the work of the current Government, which we applauded, to embrace more people who are in fuel poverty into the net and to give them support in the future. I disagree with the noble Lord on a number of these subjects.

Sheffield Forgemasters is not a matter for our department. It is a matter for BIS. It has been discussed endlessly through various Question Times. Just because a commercial decision was made, it does not mean that our commitment is not to nuclear. I re-emphasise what my right honourable friend the Secretary of State said. We are committed to nuclear and we are committed to it without a subsidy.