Public Accounts Committee calls on government to take a long-term approach to help the private sector provide Net Zero solutions

The government’s short-term approach could jeopardise the UK’s legally-mandated pledge to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and put at risk the large amounts of private investment needed to reach the target, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has warned.
A new report from the PAC says new low-carbon investment must double or triple from last year’s total of £23 billion and most must come from a private sector encouraged to invest by government action.
Dame Meg Hillier MP, Chair of the Committee, warned that “If the government continues to leave businesses to peer through a haze of uncertainty, then that investment will not be forthcoming.”
The PAC made seven recommendations:
• DESNZ, working with the Treasury, should set out its plans for supporting priority technologies beyond the confines of the spending review period, including, where appropriate, potential funding support.
• Ahead of the next Spending Review, the Treasury, working with DESNZ and DSIT, should review whether the current complex funding arrangements, which largely pre-date the development of the Innovation Framework, are best suited to supporting the fast-paced innovation needed.
• DESNZ should assess the challenges consumers might face in adopting new technologies and whether these are being adequately addressed.
• DESNZ, working with other departments, should identify clear responsibilities for overseeing cross-government progress on each of the net zero technologies.
• Government should define the outcomes, rather the outputs, that it is hoping to deliver from each technology in the short, medium and longer-term to enable it to benchmark progress and ensure that taxpayer support continues to be well targeted.
• In reporting on progress on the priority technologies, government should include its assessment of which technologies are likely to deliver within the timescales required and those it regards as higher risk.
• For each of the technology areas, the Government should report publicly on progress against the measures of success that it has defined.

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