Green Agenda — Motion to Take Note

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:38 pm on 12th January 2012.

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Photo of Baroness Smith of Basildon Baroness Smith of Basildon Shadow Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change), Shadow Spokesperson (Northern Ireland) 4:38 pm, 12th January 2012

My Lords, as ever, the noble Lord is engaging and entertaining in his responses, and as ever, he has failed to answer the most significant questions that were put to him. I take some exception to his comment that the House doth protest too much because it means that he has misunderstood the nature of today's debate. He said that noble Lords had been saying that the Government have not done anything. No Member of your Lordships' House suggested that the Government do not have any achievements. In fact, no one denied those achievements and they were praised. What the debate was around was whether this is the greenest Government ever, as the Prime Minister promised, and if it is not, whether there are areas in which the Government can improve, which the noble Lord seems to have rejected. So I am sorry he has treated the debate in this way.

I put one major question to the Minister which he failed to answer. I hope that he will come back on it. Whatever he says about the decision on feed-in tariffs, there is no doubt that it has had a major impact on businesses and investors. Many business people and investors are now very cynical about the Government's commitment. That confidence needs to be rebuilt if we are going to achieve the Government's own targets on investment for green growth. That is why I asked him most specifically whether he could give assurances on green growth and the Government's commitment. What actions are the Government going to take to improve the perception, which is justified given some of the decisions that have been made, that the Government are not serious about green growth. I am sorry he failed to answer the question. He often promises to write to me, and if he wants to do so on this occasion, I would be grateful. Otherwise, I assume that the Government have no plans to encourage the green growth that is so necessary.

We have had a very worthwhile and interesting debate. It was tabled with the intention of putting forward suggestions, recognising successes and looking at where improvements can be made. I had hoped that the Minister would respond a bit more positively by saying that changes can be made. Finally, I would add that I am proud to be a native of Essex. I suspect that my accent is more Essex than that of the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith. It is not something I regard as derogatory, but with some pride.

Motion agreed.