Aldersgate Group reacts to Prime Minister’s net zero speech


Reacting to the Prime Minister’s speech on the net zero transition this afternoon, Rachel Solomon Williams, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: “Today’s decision to reframe the UK’s progress towards net zero, and in particular delaying the phase-out of new conventional cars and boilers, is a significant misstep by the UK Government and risks our future economic prosperity, energy security and standing on the world stage. The net zero transition is a major economic opportunity and has the potential to drive prosperity across the country, including high quality jobs where they are most needed, but this will only be realised with policies that provide certainty for investors. Today’s announcements undermine previous Government commitments and therefore the necessary certainty businesses and investors require.

The net zero transition must be delivered in a way that is equitable and considers the needs of the public. However, pushing back targets is not the way to do this, and uncertainty only serves to complicate matters for businesses and disincentivise investment in the UK at a time when other nations are recognising the potential of the net zero transition. The welcome Boiler Upgrade Scheme boost and plans to streamline grid infrastructure announced today demonstrate that the Government recognises it can use policy support to deliver net zero. Similar approaches should be taken up to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles and improve home energy efficiency, with the cost savings that these measures can bring, rather than weakening the incentives to deliver in these areas.

The global direction of travel is clear. We know that decarbonisation will be a key driver of growth long into the future. Other nations recognise this and are mobilising to seize the opportunity through legislation like the US’ Inflation Reduction Act. The UK now finds itself in a highly-competitive global race to secure green investment, and we simply cannot afford uncertainty or a lack of commitment. We know from engaging some of the largest businesses in the UK that the private sector is ready to play its part in delivering a prosperous low-carbon economy. But without the commitment from the Government, targeted policy support, clear market signals and consistency, investors will go elsewhere. Now is the time to deliver on the ambitions this Government has set out and give businesses the certainty they need to invest in UK plc.”