Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has dismissed claims of rifts within the coalition Government over its commitment to cutting carbon emissions, as he unveiled a £100 million investment in energy efficiency.
Speaking to an energy conference in London’s Lancaster House, Mr Clegg insisted ministers were “unreservedly committed” to helping the low-carbon sector, declaring “no-one in Government” wanted to ditch the programme to decarbonise Britain’s economy as part of the fight against climate change.
Mr Clegg told an audience of business figures that the UK was “leading from the front” in a global revolution towards cleaner sources of energy.
He announced a £100 million contract by UK Green Investments with fund managers Equitix and SDCL to provide initial funding to encourage foreign and domestic investment in non-domestic energy efficiency.
Many environmentalists were dismayed by Chancellor George Osborne’s comment to last year’s Tory conference that, while the Government would invest in green energy, “we’re not going to save the planet by putting our country out of business”.
The Treasury is understood to have demanded cuts of 25% in subsidies for onshore windpower in a tussle between Mr Osborne and Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary Ed Davey, which ended last month with a 10% cut but question marks hanging over the 2030 target for decarbonising the economy.
Mr Clegg, however, sought to play down the spat as part of the “internal discussions and debates on the balance and sequencing of different policies” that are a normal feature of any government.