Not just a green party but a green party of government
By Simon Hughes MP, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Commons and President of the Green Liberal Democrats
It's been a great month for Liberal Democrats who are setting the pace on the green agenda!
- Two weeks ago, Chris Huhne, as Energy and Climate Change Secretary, led for the government when his Department's Energy Bill received its second reading in the House of Commons. This creates the framework for the Green Deal, a comprehensive programme of energy efficiency improvements for housing and office buildings, cutting both energy bills and emissions. Householders and business will be able to see up to £10,000 invested in insulation, at no up-front cost, paying back the investment through the lower energy bills they will enjoy as a result.
- Last week, Chris Huhne announced the government's 'carbon budget' for the mid-2020s, setting a legal requirement for a 50 per cent reduction (from 1990) by 2025. This creates the certainty businesses need to put in place long-term investments in the expanding low-carbon industries - renewable electricity, electric cars, home insulation. This is the most ambitious legally binding carbon budget set by any government anywhere; and by putting the UK at the forefront of the international debate, we will be able to push the EU and the international community towards further emissions cuts world-wide.
- And this week, Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, and Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, revealed details of the Green Investment Bank, the world's first green development bank. Up and running from April 2012, this will use an initial £3 billion of public money to lever an additional £15 billion in private investment towards the low-carbon opportunities that are opening up - particularly in offshore wind and energy efficiency.
I was this party's first environment spokesman over twenty years ago. It makes me proud to see what so many of us campaigned for all those years ago being made a reality now we're in government. This is a key part of what we Liberal Democrats bring to the coalition, and none of this would have happened without us. As Nick said yesterday, 'the LibDems have long been the greenest of the main three parties - the difference now is that it is not just a green party but a green party of government'.
Simon Hughes MP
Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Commons and President of the Green Liberal Democrats