MP’s fears over energy policies

Phil Boswell makes a speech in the House of Commons
Phil Boswell makes a speech in the House of Commons

Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill MP has warned Scotland will feel the brunt of cuts in renewable energy investments.

In a debate on the Finance Bill the former oil and gas worker highlighted Scotland’s vital contribution to the renewable energy sector.

He also brought attention to what he claims are the Conservatives’ “systemic destruction of any progressive policies relating to green energy”.

Mr Boswell made particular reference to the recent decision to cut climate change levy exemptions for electricity generated from renewable resources.

This change has particular relevance to Scotland which provides more than a third of the UK’s renewable energy.

This follows the Conservatives’ decision to cut a number green initiatives designed to promote investment in renewables and touted by many as pioneering globally, such as the privatisation of the green investment bank, cuts to solar panel subsidies, the scrapping of support for onshore wind, and the cancellation of the carbon capture initiative.

Mr Boswell praised Scotland for reaching its target of reducing its carbon footprint by 42 per cent six years early, and commended the Scottish Government’s decision to set a more ambitious target of a 50 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2020.

He said: “Scotland has 25 per cent of the wind and tidal potential in all of Europe, and 10 per cent of the wave potential in Europe.

“For a small country, in both landmass and population, these figures represent enormous potential not just for leading the world in renewable energy production, but in creating tens of thousands of jobs and ushering in substantial economic growth.

“The removal of the exemption from the carbon capture levy for electricity generated from renewable sources as proposed in this legislation is a counterproductive decision which will grossly undermine the development of the UK’s energy sector.

“It is perverse that the climate change levy has been applied to green, clean energies. That is not what it was intended for.”

Damian Hinds MP, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, defended scrapping the levy saying it was no longer providing good value to the public purse.

He said: “It had been on a declining path, but with the changes that have come in, its path has been stabilised.

“It had been providing increasingly poor value for money, partly because a third of its value was going to generators overseas which does not contribute to UK targets.”