Debates between Lord Maude of Horsham and Lord Agnew of Oulton during the 2019 Parliament

Wed 18th Mar 2020

Budget Statement

Debate between Lord Maude of Horsham and Lord Agnew of Oulton
Wednesday 18th March 2020

(4 years, 2 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Agnew of Oulton Portrait Lord Agnew of Oulton
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To reassure the noble Baroness, most of that burden will have fallen on the higher-income taxpayers, as I alluded to earlier. Something like the bottom 60% of taxpayers receive more in services from the state than they pay in tax, so I do not feel that they took an unfair level of the cost of that bailout. Of course, the banks continue to pay an additional levy over and above corporation tax to try to bring about the fairness she alludes to.

The noble Baroness, Lady Finn, is keen—I was not aware of this—on a tidal power solution. We live at opposite ends of the country; I am on the east and she is on the west. If the numbers work, I—wearing my Treasury hat—would be very interested. I have a farm that runs down to the sea; I would love to create a tidal power system there, but I do not think the numbers work. To reassure our Green Members, what is happening in offshore wind is, frankly, extraordinary. There was a contract for difference auction about a month ago—they do them every two years—and the bidding price for the offshore-generated electricity was 32% lower than two years ago. It is the most incredible development. That is why I do not accept the gloom that says that we are not embracing the green economy and decarbonising. We are now creating offshore wind at a price virtually without the need for subsidy. If the noble Baroness can do that with her tidal—

Lord Maude of Horsham Portrait Lord Maude of Horsham
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At the risk of prolonging this, does my noble friend accept that one of the reasons the cost of offshore wind has fallen so much is that there was a subsidy that enabled the unit cost of installing it to fall? Something similar could happen with tidal power. This country is uniquely equipped with the natural resource to develop something capable of being exported very widely and generating a UK-based technology that could be of enormous value, as well as a renewable resource.

Lord Agnew of Oulton Portrait Lord Agnew of Oulton
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My Lords, I am a huge fan of pump-priming. If there is a credible business case, I think it is worth taking the matter back to the Treasury, so I agree with the noble Lord. I am conscious that I am running out of time.