Debates between Baroness Blackstone and Baroness Penn during the 2019 Parliament

Economy Update

Debate between Baroness Blackstone and Baroness Penn
Thursday 26th May 2022

(2 years, 1 month ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness Penn Portrait Baroness Penn (Con)
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My Lords, the structure of the French energy market is different from our own. Different interventions are appropriate in different circumstances, but the generosity of the approach we have taken is comparable. On electricity generation, it is more complicated. As I have said, we have taken time to design the levy so as not to deter investment and we are looking very carefully at the scale of the extraordinary returns in the electricity sector and measures that could be taken in response. We have longer-term plans to reform that sector, but there may be a case for doing something in the interim and we are working urgently to look at that.

Baroness Blackstone Portrait Baroness Blackstone (Ind Lab)
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My Lords, the Minister has rightly admitted that a large part of the problem that the Government are facing is driven by energy prices. In that case, why are the Government still resisting the development of onshore wind—a rapid and cheap way of generating more power—when, if we doubled our capacity from this form of power, we could cut £6 billion off households’ energy bills?

Baroness Penn Portrait Baroness Penn (Con)
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This Government have invested significant amounts in renewable energy and will continue to do so. As we set out in our energy security strategy, we have a long-term path for both improved energy security and meeting our goals on net zero.

Biodiversity: Dasgupta Review

Debate between Baroness Blackstone and Baroness Penn
Thursday 4th February 2021

(3 years, 5 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness Penn Portrait Baroness Penn (Con)
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My Lords, the Government are taking world-leading action on preventing the use of single-use plastics and their presence in our ecosystem. That includes banning certain single-use plastics and microbeads. I will come back to the noble Baroness on her request for a date on the progress of those issues.

Baroness Blackstone Portrait Baroness Blackstone (Ind Lab)
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My Lords, what plans do the Government have to include the financing of nature-based solutions as one of the objectives of the national infrastructure bank to make sure that finance flows to projects that will enhance our natural assets and encourage nature’s recovery?

Baroness Penn Portrait Baroness Penn (Con)
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My Lords, the Government set out our green finance strategy in 2019. It contained a host of measures that we are going to take on green finance, including climate-related financial disclosure and green-proofing our ODA spend. I will come back to the noble Baroness on how that relates to the national infrastructure bank.

Adult Learning: Union Learning Fund

Debate between Baroness Blackstone and Baroness Penn
Tuesday 24th November 2020

(3 years, 7 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness Penn Portrait Baroness Penn (Con)
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My Lords, on the delivery of skills provision, the Government have taken the decision not to continue this funding, but that does not represent a cut to the funding of skills provision overall. In fact, this is being increased and we are making sure that it is available to a wider group of people.

Baroness Blackstone Portrait Baroness Blackstone (Ind Lab)
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My Lords, does the Minister accept that this is a splendid example of co-operation and collaboration between employers and the unions? I notice that she did not answer one of her noble friend’s questions about how much consultation there was with employers; she only mentioned the TUC. My evidence is that employers are very upset about this change. Moreover, would she agree that increasing the scale and reach of the offer on training, which she keeps referring to, should not stop a small but successful scheme, where independent evaluators have shown just how high the return is on expenditure and how far it benefits those who are particularly hard to reach?

Baroness Penn Portrait Baroness Penn (Con)
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My Lords, I believe that I have acknowledged the return on investment, but, as I also pointed out, the return on investment in FE in general is slightly higher than in Unionlearn. Of course, it is for businesses and trade unions to keep working together, if they so wish, to provide training for their employees; that is something that the Government would welcome.

Covid-19: Social and Economic Inequalities

Debate between Baroness Blackstone and Baroness Penn
Monday 26th October 2020

(3 years, 8 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness Blackstone Portrait Baroness Blackstone (Ind Lab)
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The Government say they want to level up, yet the gap between the haves and have-nots continues to widen. There are few areas where this is more apparent than education. Unnecessarily lengthy school closures have magnified the differences, as many predicted at the time. Can the Minister tell the House precisely what the Government’s new educational programme to support school-age children from poor families is? How much is being spent on it, over what timescale, and how is it being evaluated?

Baroness Penn Portrait Baroness Penn (Con)
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My Lords, one of the best things we can do for school-age children is ensure that they are back at school and able to stay there, and that is our focus. To help those children who missed out because of school closures during the pandemic, we have a £1 billion catch-up plan, which includes £350 million for a national tutoring programme targeted at disadvantaged children. We also put £100 million into remote learning to ensure that children from disadvantaged backgrounds have free laptops and tablets, and access to the internet, to help them learn from home.

Net Zero Review

Debate between Baroness Blackstone and Baroness Penn
Thursday 1st October 2020

(3 years, 9 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness Penn Portrait Baroness Penn (Con)
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Emissions trading is one aspect of meeting our net-zero target, so I think it will be taken into account in the review, as will nature-based solutions to climate change, which also form part of our strategy.

Baroness Blackstone Portrait Baroness Blackstone (Ind Lab)
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My Lords, what steps are the Government taking to ensure that all homes are insulated to a standard compatible with net zero?

Baroness Penn Portrait Baroness Penn (Con)
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The noble Baroness will be pleased to know that the green homes grant, launched yesterday for applications, will deliver £2 billion-worth of funding for home owners and landlords to upgrade the energy efficiency of homes and help us make progress towards that net-zero target.