Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Report (3rd Day)

Part of Infrastructure Bill [HL] – in the House of Lords at 8:45 pm on 10th November 2014.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Deighton Lord Deighton The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury 8:45 pm, 10th November 2014

My Lords, as the noble Lord, Lord Davies, has pointed out, superb cases have been made for each side of this argument by my noble friends Lord Hodgson and Lord Forsyth.

Shale gas represents a huge economic opportunity for the UK. It could create thousands of jobs, generate business investment and in future provide substantial revenue for the Exchequer. A sovereign wealth fund would create a legacy for the long term and ensure the benefits are shared with future generations, and we have heard a lot about intergenerational fairness and the issues around that. It is a complicated issue to get right.

As a Government we support the idea and want to explore—I think those were precisely the words used by the noble Lord, Lord Davies—creating a sovereign wealth fund with the money that comes from shale gas. It would be a way of making sure that this money is invested in the long-term economic health of the north of England, because of course that is where most of the reserves are located, and in other areas hosting development to create jobs and investment there. My right honourable friend the Chancellor found this an appealing concept because for him it is all part of building a northern powerhouse, which is at the heart of the Treasury’s current economic strategy. As my noble friend Lord Hodgson pointed out—