Clause 51 - Nuclear energy

Subsidy Control Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:15 pm on 2nd November 2021.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Paul Scully Paul Scully Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Minister of State (London)

This clause establishes that subsidies and subsidy schemes for nuclear projects are not required to be assessed against the additional principles for energy and environmental subsidies that are set out in schedule 2.

Photo of Bill Esterson Bill Esterson Shadow Minister (International Trade)

I am interested in the answer to that question as well, given that in the last 11 years of Conservative Government we have not seen the investment in new nuclear that was needed to meet our climate obligations.

Photo of Bill Esterson Bill Esterson Shadow Minister (International Trade)

Indeed. The role of China in our nuclear industry is a point well made by my hon. Friend. I hope that we will see significant investment in new nuclear as a result of the regulations, if that is what the Government intend. Perhaps the Minister will give an indication of their intentions, because without investment, we will not hit our obligations. Nuclear is, of course, a longer-term project because it takes so long to get going. I remind Members that we have significant targets to hit by 2030, and unless we are talking about small modular reactors, nuclear reaches beyond that timeframe. Can the Minister enlighten us on any plans?

Photo of Paul Scully Paul Scully Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Minister of State (London)

Subsidies or subsidy schemes for nuclear energy will be required to assess against the main subsidy control principles in schedule 1. Removing the clause would require those projects to be assessed against the additional energy and environmental subsidy control principles. The clause is in line with our various international obligations under the trade and co-operation agreement with the European Union.

I do not want to start speculating on what will happen with future nuclear investment, but we have legislation coming forward tomorrow.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 51 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Ordered, That further consideration be now adjourned—(Michael Tomlinson.)

Adjourned till Thursday 4 November at half-past Eleven o’clock.

Written evidence reported to the House

SCB03 Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP