The First Minister raised the issue of the fossil fuel levy surplus at a meeting with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 31 March 2010. As a result, the chancellor has agreed to consider the matter in the next spending review. The Scottish Government welcomes the chancellor's approach in that respect, although we are continuing to press for a more urgent resolution of the issue. The fund, which stands at more than £180 million, represents money raised in Scotland and provides an opportunity for us to promote renewable energy development in Scotland.
Mr Welsh will be aware that the Government, through its work with Scottish Enterprise, has recently published the "National Renewables Infrastructure Plan", which has set out a number of the key pillars of infrastructure that will be required to ensure that we can maximise the economic benefit to Scotland of the renewable energy opportunities. That has been a helpful publication, because it gives structured guidance to the industry about where the Government sees developments being taken. It allowed Mr Mather to make announcements earlier this week about the development of the
The £180 million that sits in the fossil fuel levy surplus is a useful resource that could be deployed to further assist the development of Scotland's involvement in renewable energy, with significant economic benefit to the country. The Government regrets the fact that we cannot access that money without there being essentially a negative consequence for our departmental expenditure limit. I hope that, in the immediate future, the chancellor will consider the many representations that the Government has made to try to ensure that we can have access to that resource to invest exclusively in renewable energy development without in any way undermining the departmental expenditure limit total that the Scottish Government holds from the United Kingdom Government.