Tuesday 17th July 2012
Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he is taking to promote green growth as a response to climate change.
Mr Prisk: We are committed to taking action now to put the whole economy on a low-carbon, resource efficient path. In doing so we need to maintain UK competitiveness and lay the foundations for strong and sustainable growth in the future.
Last year the Government published “Enabling the Transition to a Green Economy” which will help inform the continuing dialogue between government, business and communities. It sets out the range of policies we are using to support the transition to a green economy, the opportunities that are created and the implications for the way in which businesses operate.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has a number of programmes that are relevant to the development of the UK’s green economy. Among them is the £125 million Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain fund, which aims to increase growth potential in manufacturing by improving the competitiveness of supply chains. It is open to businesses in the renewable energy and other low-carbon sectors. There is also support available through the regional growth fund, from which several companies involved in renewable energy have benefited. The Department is also supporting innovation through the Technology Strategy Board’s catapult centres, including the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult. This will bring forward new innovation and help drive down costs in offshore renewable energy technologies. The Manufacturing Advisory Service includes within its remit low carbon and supply chain diversification themes.
The Government recognise that development of appropriate skills is an important part of the green economy. A report “Skills for a Green Economy” was published in October 2011, and maps out possible skills needs and gaps across different green sectors. The Government have put learners and employers in the driving seat, giving them the support, funding and information to make the right choices and to help employers shape the skills system. Taken together, we are creating a strong and flexible platform to meet the skills needs for the green economy transition.
The UK Green Investment Bank (UK GIB) is being developed as a key component of the Government’s transition to a green and growing economy. The Bank’s mission is “to provide financial solutions to accelerate private sector investment in the UK’s transition to a green economy”. Funded with £3 billion, it will tackle finance gaps which still remain despite a range of strong policies to incentivise green investments. It will work towards a “double bottom line” of both achieving environmental policies and making positive financial returns.