Businesses and Unions call on Chancellor to release Fossil Fuel Levy fund

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ECONOMY…
SNP MP and Member of the Treasury Select Committee, Stewart Hosie, has backed an influential coalition of Scottish business and union leaders in calling for the Fossil Fuel Levy to be returned to the Scottish Government to avoid further delay to investment in Scottish renewables projects.
 
In a letter to the Chancellor, representatives of Scottish Renewables, RSPB Scotland, the SCDI, the STUC, Scottish Chambers of Commerce, WWF Scotland and Friends of the Earth Scotland write:

“…we understand that the £250m Green Investment Bank funding which would be ring-fenced to Scottish projects will not be available until 2013. This means that the money will not be available to invest in the necessary infrastructure to attract offshore wind manufacturing as manufacturers choose their sites over the next year ready for the increase in offshore wind development around our coast.”
 
This call was backed up at the Treasury Select Committee where Mr Hosie pressed the Chancellor to commit to a timescale for the establishment of the Green Investment Bank – the UK Government’s preferred vehicle for delivering investment in the Scottish renewables sector. The Chancellor was unable to provide a definitive answer.
 
Commenting after the evidence session, Mr Hosie said:
 
“Industry leaders from across Scotland have recognised the urgency of securing investment in the Scottish renewables sector. The UK Government must act without delay and release the Fossil Fuel Levy to support investment in Scotland’s green energy revolution.
 
“While the idea of a Green Investment Bank is laudable, the UK Government’s plans are still without a timescale, business plan or funding model. Scotland’s renewables industry simply cannot wait
while these things are devised.
 
“Scotland has already witnessed the damage dithering by the UK Government can cause. In 2008, the carbon capture storage project at Peterhead lost out to Abu Dhabi – a huge setback to the
renewables progress in Scotland.
 
“By withholding investment at this crucial stage in the sector’s development, the Chancellor is putting thousands of Scottish jobs at risk.”
 
Notes:
 
The text of the letter is below:
 
03 November 2010
 
Dear Chancellor,
 
We write to ask you to deliver certainty around the Fossil Fuel Levy at this key time in the development of Scotland’s offshore wind and wave and tidal industries.
 
We welcome HM Government’s commitment to increase renewable energy spending in Scotland, but remain concerned about two aspects of the announcement made in the Comprehensive Spending Review.
 
The first of these is the issue that any money drawn down from the Fossil Fuel Levy by Scottish Ministers will result in a corresponding decrease in Scotland’s block grant. As a result, it is still not clear that either current or future Scottish administrations will be able to increase investment in renewables infrastructure to the necessary levels while balancing other spending commitments.
 
The second of these is that we understand that the £250m Green Investment Bank funding which would be ring-fenced to Scottish projects will not be available until 2013. This means that the money will not be available to invest in the necessary infrastructure to attract offshore wind manufacturing as manufacturers choose their sites over the next year ready for the increase in offshore wind development around our coast.
 
We hope that for the sake of the economy, jobs and action on climate change that a solution can be found to both these issues and to supporting public sector investment in the biggest opportunity for green jobs in a generation.
 
We hope that both governments will work together to deliver a pragmatic and timely outcome that will ensure progress against renewable energy and climate change targets and support the development of employment here in Scotland.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Niall Stuart, Chief Executive, Scottish Renewables
Dr Lesley Sawers, Chief Executive, Scottish Council for Development & Industry
Grahame Smith, General Secretary, STUC
Liz Cameron, Chief Executive, Scottish Chambers of Commerce
Dr Richard Dixon, Director, WWF Scotland
Stuart Housden, Director, RSPB Scotland
Duncan McLaren, Chief Executive, Friends of the Earth Scotland