MP slams SNP’s ‘politics of division’ when pitting Scotland against UK

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Deidre Brock, SNP spokesperson for rural affairs, clashed with Energy Minister Greg Hands after the Government revealed it would be investing in carbon capture sites near Liverpool – with a Scottish site in St Fergus in reserve. The SNP were furious with the plans, arguing the Acorn Project in Aberdeenshire is ready to go and will hurt Scotland’s attempt to achieve net-zero. Ms Brock attacked Mr Hands over the news – but the Conservative minister hit back, blasting her “politics of division”. 

Speaking in the House of Commons, Ms Brock attacked the Government for not backing the Acorn project in St Fergus which could be the UK’s first carbon capture and storage facility operational by the mid-2020s.

Instead, the Liverpool area will see state funding to the tune of £1billion to develop carbon capture, utilisation and storage projects (CCUS).

Ms Brock, like other SNP MPs, was furious at the announcement as they would like to see Scotland progress its own net-zero capabilities.

She attacked Mr Hands in the Commons, remarking: “How can the Government say it is delivering a just transition if the Tories put pork-barrel politics ahead of supporting the ideal location for CCUS at St Fergus?”

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Mr Hands appeared annoyed at the question and vented his frustration by replying: “Well, Mr Speaker, I get tired of this sort of politics of division that we hear from the SNP all the time.

“It’s politics of pitting Scotland, in this case, against the North of England.

“We are a Government for the whole of the United Kingdom and I deeply regret her language on her accusation that we have somehow put the north of England in a privileged position relative to others.

“We have been absolutely clear Mr Speaker, that there will be two industrial clusters by the mid-2020s.

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“At least two, and four by 2030 at the latest. We have the Acorn cluster as a reserve; as I said earlier it met the eligibility criteria perform to a good standard.

“And we will continue to engage with the sector so that it can continue its development and plan.”

The Government has announced several new schemes to push the UK towards its net-zero target.

Around £620million will be given in grants to councils and local authorities to install more electric vehicle charging points.

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Car manufacturers will also be forced to sell a percentage of clean cars every year.

Grants of up to £5,000 will be given to households to install heat pumps to replace their old gas boilers.

The subsidies will come into place next April but, despite 25 million UK homes having a gas boiler, the scheme will only fund around 90,000 over three years.

The Government is under pressure to meet its climate targets ahead of Cop26 with the UK Government aiming to achieve net-zero by 2050.

Net-zero means the UK will not add greenhouse gases to the atmosphere either through carbon capture technology, renewable energies or low-polluting industries.

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