Jo has criticised the Government for spending just £30 million of a promised £152 million of key environmental and renewable energy funds over the last three years.
The Liberal Democrats have revealed through Freedom of Information requests to the Department for Energy and Climate Change found that just a fraction of budgets and funds for carbon reduction and renewable energy have been spent, despite Gordon Brown’s claims that the schemes, part of the Environmental Transformation Fund, would “help bring […] technologies to the marketplace, creating businesses and jobs.”
The research also found that:
The Low Carbon Buildings Programme phase 2 had a budget of £34m for 2006/07-2008/09, but distributed less than £10m
The Marine Renewables Deployment Fund (MRDF) – a £50m fund that has operated for 3 years – still has over £48m unallocated despite previous criticism of its effectiveness
There had been ‘no successful applications to the MRDF commercial demonstration scheme’ despite the Government’s claim that it expected the first successful applications early in 2009
Commenting, Jo said:
“It beggars belief that labour is throwing away this opportunity at a time of such high unemployment, the Government is failing to spend the money it has promised for revitalising the economy. These funds could be creating new jobs in East Dunbartonshire and in the rest of Britain and helping to build a low carbon economy.
“Renewable energy and low carbon technology represent fantastic opportunities for our economy. Britain should be leading the world in cutting its emissions, and we cannot afford to miss opportunities like this or we will simply be left behind while other countries prosper from these new technologies.
“Sadly Labour are failing Britain on jobs and on the environment. The Liberal Democrats would prioritise investment in green jobs, for the sake of our planet and our economy.”
1. Four key UK-wide programmes – worth a combined £152m – under the Government’s Environmental Transformation Fund were looked at – details of budgets and underspends are as follows:
Low Carbon Buildings Programme phase 1
Total UK Budget FY 06/07 – FY 08/09 = £18,233,000; spend = £17,485,118; underspend = £747,882
Low Carbon Buildings Programme phase 2
Total UK Budget FY 2006/07 to FY 2008/09: £34,182,578 ; spend £9,711,672 ; underspend = £24,470,906
Marine Renewables Deployment Fund
£50m UK-wide fund, but over the three years of its operation so far (FY 06/07 – FY 08/09) spend has been just £1,643,000 –> £48,489,000 unspent. In addition, the latest information says there are still “no successful applications to the MRDF commercial demonstration scheme.”
Hydrogen Fuel Cells and Carbon Abatement Technologies Demonstration Programme
- £50m programme (originally announced in 06 as a £40m programme, but additional £10m was later announced for CAT)
- CAT: total UK spend FY 06/07 – 08/09 = £600,000
- HFCs: total UK spend FY 06/07 – 08/09 = £1,032,000
–> over 3 years of operation so far just £1,632,000 spent of £50m programme –> £48,368,000 unspent
2. In 2008, the Liberal Democrats revealed that no company had qualifed for funding under the MRDF’s commercial demonstration scheme. At the time, a spokesperson for DECC said: “We anticipate the Marine Renewables Deployment Fund’s demonstration scheme will receive its first successful applications for support early next year.”
3. Gordon Brown claimed in 2007 that “the new £370 million domestic environmental transformation fund” – of which these schemes form part – would “help bring these technologies to the marketplace, creating businesses and jobs.”