New Clause 4 - Impact of Act on tackling climate change

Finance (No. 2) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:45 am on 11 January 2022.

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“The Government must publish within 12 months of this Act coming into effect an impact assessment of the changes in the Act as a whole on the goal of tackling climate change and the UK‘s plans to reach net zero by 2050.”—

Brought up, and read the First time.

Photo of Richard Thomson Richard Thomson Shadow SNP Deputy Spokesperson (Treasury - Financial Secretary), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Wales), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Northern Ireland)

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

I have made the argument numerous times in various guises that for every action, every policy choice and every pound spent, we should understand the contribution, positive or negative, that that makes to achieving net zero and tackling climate change. That is why we tabled new clause 4.

Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer The Financial Secretary to the Treasury

New clause 4, tabled by the hon. Member for Glasgow Central, asks the Government to

“publish within 12 months of this Act coming into effect an impact assessment of the changes in the Act as a whole on the goal of tackling climate change and the UK’s plans to reach net zero”.

I want to emphasise that we have just had COP26, which the Government led. Of course the Government are committed to ensuring that we reach the legislative target of being net zero by 2050, which we were the first country to set, and I reiterate that the Government have put in a significant fund of £30 billion to achieve that objective.

The hon. Member for Gordon asks us to consider that at each stage of the legislative process. I can give him some comfort that we are of course embedding those processes in Government. The “Net Zero in Government” chapter of the net zero strategy sets out how the Government will monitor progress to ensure that we stay on track to meet our target emissions.

At fiscal events, including the recent spending review, all Departments are required to prepare their spending proposals in line with the Green Book, which already mandates the consideration of climate and environmental impacts on spending. The investment decisions in spending review 2021 were informed by data and evidence on the expected contribution of proposals to meet net zero. In addition, the relevant tax information and impact notes that are prepared for all Budget measures carefully consider climate change and environmental impacts of relevant tax measures as they go through the process.

For those reasons, new clause 4 is unnecessary. We already consider the impact on the environment as we bring forward legislation, so I urge the Committee to reject the new clause.

Photo of Richard Thomson Richard Thomson Shadow SNP Deputy Spokesperson (Treasury - Financial Secretary), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Wales), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Northern Ireland)

I listened carefully to what the Minister said. I look forward to seeing how those governance measures operate in practice—how they are introduced and how effective they turn out to be. On that basis, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the clause.

Clause, by leave, withdrawn.