Ed Miliband responds to Government statement on 10-Point Climate Plan
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Ed Miliband MP, Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary, responding to the Government’s statement on 10-Point Climate Plan, said:
“The climate crisis is the single greatest long-term challenge we face. As Secretary of State in 2008, I was proud to pass the world-leading climate change act with cross-party support. In that spirit, although we believe that the UK should be going further and faster, we do also recognise our targets for 2030 and 2035 are ambitious by international standards.
“But his central challenge is whether targets are matched by the scale of action required in this decisive decade. Once again his statement has shown that he and the Government are second to none at self-congratulation but less good at self-awareness.
“And I fear the evidence is that there is a wide gap between rhetoric and reality. Key, crucial areas not dealt with. The scale of finance not being delivered. Leading us to be off track on our targets.
“Let’s take a few key issues. First, buildings, a crucial part of decarbonisation. Last year the Green homes Grant was the flagship measure which he said would ‘pave the way for the UK’s green homes revolution.’ Now it is the policy that dared not speak its name in the Business Secretary’s statement. And no wonder, it’s been a fiasco. Contractors not paid. Installers forced to make layoffs. Homeowners unable to get the grants. As important, when the scheme failed, more than £1bn was not reallocated but simply cut.
“We desperately need a comprehensive plan for the massive task of retrofitting and changing the way we heat millions of homes with the finance to back it up. The heat and buildings strategy was supposed to be published last year. It has been delayed and delayed. Can the secretary of state now promise that when it is published it will finally contain the plan we need?
“Next let’s turn to electric vehicles. Again we were supposed to have seen the transport decarbonisation strategy last year. But today he didn’t even give a date for its publication. When will we see it?
“We support the 2030 phase out date. But the CCC says that we will need 48% of the cars sold in the UK to be EVs in just 4 years time – by 2025. But despite recent progress, we are way off that – at less than 15%. We are not financing the gigafactories. Our charging infrastructure is inadequate. And the government has cut the plug-in grant. Does the secretary of state acknowledge that government is not investing enough to make the EV revolution happen in a way that is necessary for our car industry’s future and consumers?
“On offshore wind, we should be proud of world leadership on generation. And I welcome today’s jobs announcement but only 29% of capital investment in recent projects has been in the UK. Can he tell us when the government is finally going to deliver on its pledge for 60% of the content of our offshore wind to be domestic?
“On manufacturing, there was no mention of steel in his statement, which seems a very surprising omission given how crucial it is to our country, our steel communities and the green transition. A clean steel fund of £250m, announced two years ago and only to be delivered in two years’ time is wholly inadequate. He knows it, his backbenchers know it and our steel industry knows it. Will he now acknowledge it? And what is he going to do about it?
“And the same is true elsewhere. On hydrogen, hundreds of millions against billions invested by others. On aerospace, a jet zero talking shop but jobs lost as our investment fails to measure up.
“Overall, green investment that is still way short of the tens of billions of public and private investment not over a decade but each and every year that everyone from PWC to the CCC say we need to get on track for our targets.
“And the Treasury’s crucial net zero review, due in autumn 2020 then promised in spring 2021, still not delivered. Can he tell us when that will finally see the light of day?
“And all this means we are way off meeting our 5th and 6th carbon budgets. Green Alliance estimates that policies announced will only lead to 26% of the reductions necessary to get the UK on track for 2030. Can the Secretary of State tell us how far off track he thinks we are for our 5th, and 6th carbon budgets?
“There is a massive opportunity for Britain with our amazing scientists, our brilliant workforce and our world-leading businesses. But to make that future happen, we need a government with the ambition and real commitment that matches the ingenuity and aspiration of the British people.
“Instead of a piecemeal ten point plan, we need a comprehensive Green New Deal. With the scale of investment and commitment which meets the moment and the emergency. This government does not measure up. We will hold them to account on behalf of the country.”