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Thursday, April 11, 2024

Chancellor Challenged to Turbocharge Green Growth

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The SNP has challenged the Chancellor to “stop acting as a roadblock to green growth” – urging the UK government to deliver a major green energy package at the UK Budget.

Ahead of Wednesday’s statement, Stephen Flynn MP called on the UK government to slash energy bills and “capitalise on this golden opportunity to turbocharge green energy growth – and make the most of Scotland’s vast natural resources.”.

The SNP Westminster Leader has set out the party’s plan for green growth at the UK Budget, challenging Jeremy Hunt to:

  1. Save households £1,400 on energy bills – by reducing the Energy Price Guarantee level by 20% to £2000, instead of raising it to £3000, and by maintaining the £400 Energy Bill Support Scheme payments to the summer.
  2. Match the ambition of EU and US green subsidies – The United States has announced a £370 billion package of tax breaks and subsidies for firms producing green energy and tech, which the European Union aims to match. The SNP has warned “Scotland cannot afford to be left behind, while the UK government fails to match these ambitious plans”. 
  3. Deliver immediate CCUS funds for the North East of Scotland – The UK government has repeatedly broken its promise to fund Carbon Capture investment in Scotland. In 2021, it snubbed the Acorn project, and in 2015 it withdrew £1billion of funding for Peterhead promised during the independence referendum. Scotland must not be left behind as a result of Westminster’s failure to deliver urgent investment. 
  4. Match the Scottish Government’s £500m Just Transition Fund – The SNP government has invested £500million for a just transition for the North East of Scotland. Having taken more than £400billion from Scotland’s natural resources, the UK government must at least match this Scottish Government funding for a just transition.
  5. Reform grid charges which penalise Scottish renewable firms – Scottish renewable firms pay some of the highest transmission charges in Europe, whilst equivalent projects in England are subsidised to access the very same National Grid. This must be reformed so Scottish firms are no longer penalised.
  6. Give the same tax relief for new renewable investment as is awarded to oil and gas firms – Oil and gas companies receive an 80% Investment Allowance, meaning businesses get a £91.25 tax saving for every £100 they invest, whereas renewable generators are not currently granted any equivalent investment allowances.

Commenting, the SNP Westminster Leader, Stephen Flynn MP, said:

“The Tories must stop acting as a roadblock to green growth – and deliver the long-overdue funding that Scotland needs to become a renewable energy powerhouse for the 21st century.

“The UK government has repeatedly broken its promises to Scotland – withdrawing carbon capture funding, and failing to invest in renewable energy production and technology.

“It’s essential that the Chancellor uses the UK Budget to slash energy bills, and deliver the immediate investment needed to capitalise on this golden opportunity to turbocharge green energy growth – and make the most of Scotland’s vast natural resources.

“Scotland is a wealthy, energy-rich country but our renewable energy sector and businesses continue to suffer from a lack of investment under Westminster control. 

“From the EU to the US, the world is gearing up to super charge renewables investment, yet Westminster has left the UK lagging behind.

“The Chancellor has it in his gift to cut energy bills, incentivise green growth, match the Scottish Government’s net-zero ambitions and deliver world-leading carbon capture technology.

“The age of dither and delay at Westminster must end, so Scotland can realise its huge potential.

“By unleashing Scotland’s renewable energy potential we can deliver energy security – and reduce energy bills permanently.

“Not only is it good for the economy and the environment – but it will put money back in people’s pockets too.

“If the Tories fail to act they will prove, yet again, that the only way to deliver energy security and a more prosperous future, is by Scotland becoming an independent country.”

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