BUSINESS QUESTION – CARBON PRICE FOR COMBINED HEAT & POWER PLANTS – 9 February 2012
[Geraint Davies: As you know, Mr Speaker, Swansea is the cultural capital of Wales. [Interruption. ] In 2014, the world will celebrate the centenary of the birth of Dylan Thomas – a great literary icon and a great British and Welsh brand – in Swansea. Will the Leader of the House find time to debate a programme of events throughout 2014 to support inward investment and tourism, related to the centenary celebrations for Dylan Thomas, in the United Kingdom, Wales and Swansea?
The Leader of the House of Commons (Sir George Young): I hope that the hon. Gentleman will catch your eye, Mr Speaker, during the St David's day debate, for which I hope the Backbench Business Committee will find time. I noted some dissent from behind the hon. Gentleman when he claimed that Swansea is the cultural capital of Wales. He may have difficulty with some of his parliamentary colleagues.]
Dr Julian Lewis: As a Swansea boy, I have to agree with the hon. Member for Swansea West (Geraint Davies), rather than with my Government's Front-Bench representative on this occasion, which is most unusual for me.
Oil refineries and large chemical plants have been investing in combined heat and power units, but they face the loss of certain financial exemptions, without which an oil refinery may face a loss of £7 million a year if it continues with the CHP units. If it discontinued using them, tens if not hundreds of thousands of tonnes of CO2 will be generated, with obvious environmental disadvantages. Will the Leader of the House arrange time for an urgent statement from the Department of Energy and Climate Change to show that it is aware of the unintended consequences of the change in the levy system and that it will make representations to the Treasury to make an adjustment in the Budget accordingly?
[Sir George Young: I am grateful to my hon. Friend for drawing attention to an issue of which the Government are already aware. He might know that the Treasury has announced previously that it will introduce a relief from the carbon price floor for combined heat and power plants. We will bring forward the details in due course, and the Treasury and DECC are working closely together on the issue.]