Sustainable Growth (Priorities)

Scottish Executive Question Time — General Questions – in the Scottish Parliament at 11:40 am on 1st July 2010.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Rob Gibson Rob Gibson Scottish National Party 11:40 am, 1st July 2010

To ask the Scottish Government whether it has identified priorities for bolstering sustainable growth from any funds from the fossil fuel levy that are released. (S3O-11134)

Photo of Jim Mather Jim Mather Scottish National Party

The funds could help to provide and support new opportunities to develop Scotland's status as a leader in the low-carbon economy. Their availability will see us consider investment priorities across the full range of the renewables sector. In the meantime, the Scottish Government continues to work with United Kingdom Government ministers and officials to ensure that funds from the levy are released in a way that is additional to the Scottish budget.

Photo of Rob Gibson Rob Gibson Scottish National Party

I thank the minister for that reassurance. Given that the fossil fuel levy is aimed at helping to reduce greenhouse gases, can any of the levy that is raised in Scotland be put to use for energy conservation as well as renewable energy production?

Photo of Jim Mather Jim Mather Scottish National Party

The levy is limited by statute to the promotion of renewables and the use of renewable energy from sources in Scotland. However, we are investing significantly in vital areas of energy efficiency and conservation. We will continue to fund the Carbon Trust, the Energy Saving Trust and area-based home insulation schemes to the tune of £25 million. There is also the recent £2 million for the boiler scrappage scheme.

Photo of Lewis Macdonald Lewis Macdonald Labour

Is the minister aware of the suggestion from the leader of Aberdeen City Council that funds from the fossil fuel levy might be used for building roads? Is such expenditure permissible under statute, or is the suggestion simply a non-starter?

Photo of Jim Mather Jim Mather Scottish National Party

I understand that infrastructure spending would be focused on key ports and harbours in support of the growth of the offshore wind sector. Beyond that, the areas that fall within the scope of the levy are technology support, skills, renewable heat and community renewables.