(1 year, 4 months ago)Read Full debate
I do welcome that, and it was my Department that conducted the research. There is a myth that we do not have many green jobs, as we already have 400,000 in the economy. On the basis of our current work, we think that the number could grow to almost 2 million. One of the reasons why so many large companies are changing the way they do business is that they think they have a bit of a recruitment crisis, because they know that so many young people would much rather work for a sustainable company than otherwise. Indeed, Thursday of Green GB Week is all about opportunities: how people can get into this business; and how we can motivate the next generation—from schoolchildren up to young adults—to think about working in what will be one of our great long-term growth areas.
Again, it is a bit sad to hear that from someone with whom I was very proud to work in coalition and who did so much in this area. I would unpick two of the right hon. Gentleman’s points. First, there is no slowdown. Renewables usage is absolutely accelerating, and we are now at 32%—[Interruption.] Again, if we combine more for less as prices fall, why are we falling into the trap of defining success as how much we are spending rather than how much we are getting? We are getting 32% from renewables. That, along with the investment in new gas, is the reason why we are able to phase out coal.
The right hon. Gentleman raised the question of banning. There is no ban on offshore wind. In fact, he was the Minister who led so many of the fights about offshore wind farms. Frankly, those fights threatened to derail many of the conversations about clean growth, because they were so terribly controversial. [Hon. Members: “Onshore wind!”] There is no ban on onshore wind. Onshore wind is still operating. What we were elected on in our manifesto—the Government’s manifesto—was that we did not think large-scale onshore wind development was right for England, and I am afraid I believe in carrying out our manifesto commitments.