I have received numerous emails from constituents regarding their concern for a green and fair Covid-19 recovery plan.
These have been very difficult times for the country and while it is paramount to protect jobs and the economy, I appreciate that questions are also being asked about the way the country does business in the future.
I agree that as we recover from Covid-19, the Government needs to deliver an economy which is stronger, greener, more sustainable and more resilient. By doing this, we will protect jobs and add many more employment opportunities. I was therefore pleased that, on 8 June, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy announced a Green Recovery working group, one of five new ‘recovery roundtables’ bringing together businesses, business representative groups and leading academics, to unleash Britain’s growth potential and help the economy recover from the pandemic. This group will explore how to capture the economic growth opportunities from the shift to net zero emissions.
I know questions have been raised about support for certain sectors. In the case of airlines, for example, firms can draw upon a range of financial support during this challenging time, including billions of pounds worth of loans and guarantees, tax deferrals and the furlough scheme for workers. The ministerial-led international aviation task-force is looking at the best ways to support the industry, recognising the unique challenges they are facing. Rightly, any potential intervention would need to represent value for money for taxpayers.
As we recover from Covid-19, the Government needs to deliver an economy which is stronger, greener, more sustainable and more resilient. In exceptional circumstances, where a viable company has exhausted all options and its failure would disproportionately harm the economy, I understand the Government may consider support on a ‘last resort’ basis.
The UK has played a world-leading role in tackling climate change and the transition to Clean Growth, with the UK being the first country to legislate to eliminate our contribution to climate change by 2050, and the fastest in the G20 to cut emissions. Since 1990, the UK has cut emissions by more than 40 per cent while growing the economy by more than two thirds, and we are a world-leader in offshore wind.
Reducing carbon emissions as well as tackling climate change will continue to be priorities for me and my Ministerial colleagues, and I will continue to pursue this matter.