Environmental Audit Committee says chancellor giving “counterproductive” and “wrong” messages to investors in green infrastructure


Source: PA

MPs have slammed George Osborne for giving “counterproductive” and “wrong” messages to investors in green infrastructure and weakening investor confidence.

A report by the Environmental Audit Committee on the Treasury’s support for the green economy, published this week, said the chancellor “must reflect on his comments that present the ‘environment’ in opposition to the ‘economy’”.

“They are wrong and counterproductive,” the report added.

“Mixed messages from the Government on energy policy are undermining investor confidence in the green economy.”

It recommended that the government include a carbon intensity target in its forthcoming Energy Bill, which will reform the electricity market.

The report also said the Treasury had not been clear enough about how its infrastructure guarantees scheme, which will see the government underwrite major projects, will work.

It said the Treasury should use the Autumn Statement to set out how the scheme would affect the ability of the Green Investment Bank to borrow money because it is not currently allowed to do so until government debt is falling as a percentage of GDP - something which will be more difficult to achieve if the government is taking on liability for infrastructure projects.

The committee also said it wanted to see clearer support from the Treasury for the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s recently launched Energy Efficiency Strategy.

“It should set out the costs of the measures in the strategy and identify the extent to which these will have to be met from within DECC’s existing budgets,” it said.

“Inserting some of the revenues from carbon taxes to reduce energy use could help to make real progress in this crucial area.”