Report (2nd Day)

Part of Energy Bill [HL] – in the House of Lords at 6:45 pm on 8th March 2011.

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Photo of Lord Lea of Crondall Lord Lea of Crondall Labour 6:45 pm, 8th March 2011

I will take another three minutes as a compromise, if I may, because I am not there yet.

Carbon capture and storage is another good example where lobbyists say that they need to give confidence that they can recover their up-front costs. That is in fact a demand for an open-ended subsidy. I could go on. Those are all difficult questions to put into the jigsaw puzzle that the statisticians have to put together. We cannot just have random subsidies all round.

I could mention the electricity market reform proposals, where there are four options-the noble Baroness, Lady Northover, will be pleased to know that I will not read them all out. How many people in this country -how many people in this House-know about them? If we are talking about baseload nuclear and the problems of making wind power work, we cannot shut down wind power, so will nuclear have to shut down when the range of electricity use between the summer night and the winter night is between 25 gigawatts in summer and 50 gigawatts in winter? What will the rules be about that?

I make my last point. We may think that this is complicated, but it is against the background of a spike in the world price. We must be clear which is the world price effect and which is domestic subsidies for people in the street. That is essential politically. I hope that no one thinks that I am talking in a partisan sense. It can mean less need for higher indirect taxation if people take the view that the important thing is the reduction of carbon growth, but the Treasury will not be keen on seeing that as a scope for lowering indirect taxation.

I am on my last thought. I am very pleased that the noble Baroness, Lady Northover, in our last day in Committee, said that she agreed with a few ideas in my amendment then-there were some things with which she disagreed, which I have therefore taken out. The Government are ticking the box of transparency. Secondly, they are taking the first tentative steps to what I call saleability. We still have to jump the next fence of how to get a high degree of responsibility around the country. That is the signal, which I hope can be taken on board, that there is a good deal of convergence on the view that the approach of the amendment is rational and reasonable. It is very much in the Government's interest, as well as the wider public interest. I hope that the Minister will now, having heard about the rationale and future adjustments that can be made, give careful consideration with her colleagues before the Bill reaches the other place.