Earlier this week, Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Davey MP, announced the results of the UK’s first green energy auction which was designed to reward those companies who could offer to produce green power at the lowest cost.
The ‘reverse auction’ allowed generators of green power to bid against each other for contracts in order to drive the price down. This innovative approach to market competition means that the schemes will be built for £110 million a year less than expected. Ed announced that contracts have been offered to 27 renewable energy schemes that will allow for more clean energy at lower costs – a multifaceted positive for the consumer.
Commenting, Don Foster MP said: “The success of the auction is further testament to the hard work of the Lib Dems in reforming the UK’s energy system. The development of Britain’s first Community Energy Strategy allowed BANES Council to invest in the Wilmington Farm Solar Array and I believe Ed’s approach to this ‘reverse auction’ will have a further positive impact on our local and regional economy.”
The renewable energy schemes that won the contracts will produce enough energy to power 1.4 million homes – comparable to the number of households in Wales – and save the equivalent carbon emissions of taking 2 million cars off the road. If built, these projects will not just cut the cost of renewable electricity, but also reduce energy dependency and support thousands of green jobs.
The Lib Dems have worked hard to keep environmental issues at the top of the agenda in Government. The results of the auction restate the Lib Dems long-standing beliefs that you cannot create a stronger economy for the long-term without creating a greener, more sustainable economy too.
Today, Don Foster MP, along with Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate for Bath, Steve Bradley, took part in a blindfolded walk for the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) as part of their “Who put that there!” campaign.
Both Don and Steve were accompanied by one of the many excellent volunteers at the RNIB, in a short walk around Bath city centre while wearing spectacles that simulate two different types of blindness.
Commenting on the walk, Don said: “Today has proved a thoroughly rewarding experience. I was previously unaware of the everyday difficulties partially sighted people have to face in just getting around the city.
“This is an incredibly important issue and I would encourage people to participate in a similar event with the RNIB to gain a fuller understanding of the issue and how we can act accordingly as a society to help those in need.”
With an estimated 14,000 people living with sight loss in Bath and North East Somerset, 10% of whom are likely to have no sight at all, this event highlighted the extremity of the issues affecting individuals suffering from blindness and partial sight.
Steve added: “I never knew that walking through Bath could be so difficult! Simply knowing the difference between the pavement and the road in shared spaces becomes a very difficult challenge when your vision is even slightly impaired.”
Today, Lib Dem leader & Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, set out the Liberal Democrat vision for a world-class early years education system.
In a speech to the Pre-School Learning Alliance, Nick outlined Liberal Democrat plans to provide 15 hours a week of free childcare to all children of working parents aged between 9 months and two years.
This would save the average family £2,670 over the course of a year.
Nick also set out plans to give all two-year olds 15 hours free childcare per week, saving the average family £2,450 over a year.
In his speech Nick restated the Liberal Democrats long-term ambition to increase the provision of free childcare to 20 hours a week for all two, three and four year olds and for children of working parents aged between 9 months and two years.
Nick’s comments come as the Family and Childcare Trust survey confirms that with demand increasing, the cost of childcare is rising.
Liberal Democrats recognise that pressure on working parents to budget for their childcare costs doesn’t just start when their child is two years old which is why we plan to introduce measures that will save families money.
Nick also discussed the Liberal Democrat commitment to increase the Early Years Pupil Premium from £300 to £1,000 per child.