World-leading auctions to provide major green electricity boost

Liberal Democrat Minister for Energy & Climate Change Ed Davey has announced plans for 27 renewable electricity projects which together could power 1.4 million homes, comparable to the number of households in Wales.

If built, these projects could support thousands of green jobs, bolster energy security and cut the cost of renewable electricity.

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The green energy auction has driven down prices, by as much as 58 per cent for one technology. The auctions have successfully led to over £315m of new contracts been offered to five renewable technologies, such as onshore wind and solar.

Ed Davey said:

“Under this first green energy auction we’ve seen prices tumble, while securing new energy generation and thousands of green jobs across the UK.

“Onshore wind and solar prices are clearly leading the way for the cheapest green energy out there, and the Conservatives now have some serious questions to answer.

“If they want to tackle climate change and do it through bringing on more green energy then why press the stop button on onshore wind?

“An end to onshore wind means you’re either saying no to tackling climate change, or you’re having to plug the gap with a more expensive form of energy that will put everyone’s energy bills up.”

Pension saving at a record high

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics show the highest level of pension saving since records began in 1997.

Pension membership has risen across all age groups. The figures underline the success of automatic enrolment, where workers are automatically placed in a pensions scheme.

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To date the programme has brought more than five million workers into a pension scheme.

The figures released in the Annual Survey of Hours and Earning statistics which reflect the picture in 2014 show:

  • 59 per cent of all workers are active members of a pension scheme, up from 47 per cent in 2012.
  • 49 per cent of all private sector employees are active members of a pension scheme, up from 32 per cent in 2012.
  • Pension membership has risen across all age groups, the largest increase being in the 22-29 age group, up to 53 per cent from 36 per cent in 2013.
  • Pension membership has increased for every earnings band in the private sector for full-time employees.

Commenting on the new report Liberal Democrat Pensions Minister Steve Webb said:

“The rise in the proportion of people saving for retirement over the past three years is stunning. Pension saving is now at its highest level since records began.

“This is due in no small part to the success of automatic enrolment which is changing the culture of pension saving in Britain. Millions more people are now saving into a workplace pension, allowing them to build a decent nest egg to enjoy in their retirement, on top of a reinvigorated new State Pension.”

Nick Clegg comments on Conservatives record on immigration

Commenting on the Conservatives record on immigration, Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:

“I said to David Cameron he shouldn’t make the commitment because it was inevitable he was going to break it because you can’t control the net figure.

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“They made that commitment – we said we were not going to do it as a coalition government .. and they are now going to have to suffer the embarrassment.

“It is very embarrassing for the Conservatives. They made a huge amount of fanfare about it and they were warned by me and others ‘Don’t do this, it doesn’t make any sense’.

“Now, of course, they quite rightly will have to suffer the embarrassment of having made a commitment on something which people care about passionately – which is immigration – and they have failed spectacularly to deliver.

“What we need to do and get on with – something I’ve been getting on with during my time in government – is, for instance, re-establishing the proper border controls at our borders so that we not only count people in, but we count people out.”

World-leading auctions to provide major green electricity boost

Liberal Democrat Minister for Energy & Climate Change Ed Davey has announced plans for 27 renewable electricity projects which together could power 1.4 million homes, comparable to the number of households in Wales.

If built, these projects could support thousands of green jobs, bolster energy security and cut the cost of renewable electricity.

renewable-projects-info.jpg

 

The green energy auction has driven down prices, by as much as 58 per cent for one technology. The auctions have successfully led to over £315m of new contracts been offered to five renewable technologies, such as onshore wind and solar.

Ed Davey said:

“Under this first green energy auction we’ve seen prices tumble, while securing new energy generation and thousands of green jobs across the UK.

“Onshore wind and solar prices are clearly leading the way for the cheapest green energy out there, and the Conservatives now have some serious questions to answer.

“If they want to tackle climate change and do it through bringing on more green energy then why press the stop button on onshore wind?

“An end to onshore wind means you’re either saying no to tackling climate change, or you’re having to plug the gap with a more expensive form of energy that will put everyone’s energy bills up.”

Greg Mulholland welcomes step forwards in fight against nuisance calls

Leeds North West MP, Greg Mulholland, has backed changes announced by the Government this week to introduce tougher regulations for companies that make cold calls.Greg headshot

There has been a growing campaign to take a tougher stance on companies that make nuisance calls of this nature. The Government has now responded to these calls and introduce a range of new powers in an attempt to bring them under control.

Companies that make these types of calls or text messages can now be fined up to £500,000 and these fines will be easier to impose. Previously companies could only be fined if the Information Commissioner could prove substantial damage or substantial stress had been caused. From 6th April this legal requirement will be removed.

MP Greg Mulholland, who has been raising concerns regarding nuisance calls with Ministers and regulators, said,

“It is wrong that these companies are harassing people with such regularity, it has to stop, and I am delighted that the Government has listened to the concerns that we have been raising. This is an important step in the right direction in dealing with a problem that affects everyone with a landline or a mobile.”

Shelter: Is there a housing crisis near you?

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Would you say there are many homeless families near you? 50? 100? More?

Find out how many families are homeless where you live

With a staggering 93,000 children homeless in Britain, you may just be surprised.

But the good news is, with the general election coming up, politicians are paying attention to what matters to us most. So with support from people like you, we’re pushing them to end the housing crisis for good.

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Government invests £25 million in game-changing green technologies

Windows that act as solar panels, an engine which runs on landfill emissions and Europe’s biggest battery are all a step closer to reality after receiving a share of £24.5 million of government funding.

These projects are among 40 new technologies which have won funding through the first round of Innovate UK’s Energy Catalyst, which is designed to help tackle the so-called energy ‘trilemma’ of reducing carbon emissions, increasing security of supply and cutting the cost of energy.

Business and Energy Minister, Matthew Hancock said:

The projects we are backing, through the Energy Catalyst, demonstrate the depth and breadth of British innovation in the sector. Many of these projects are not only UK firsts, but world firsts, and by supporting them at this early stage, we will ensure the UK reaps the rewards in the future.

By funding this research we are not only working towards our goal of reducing carbon emissions, but fostering an environment that will create jobs, grow business and maintain the UK’s position at the cutting edge of technological advancement.

Rob Saunders, Head of Energy at Innovate UK said:

The projects that have won funding in this first round are exactly the sort of innovative ideas we had in mind when the energy catalyst was created. The second round is well under way and I’m certainly looking forward to seeing UK firms come forward with more new ways of securing a reliable, low carbon and low cost energy system.

Among the winners is Cambridge-based Nyak Technology which has been awarded almost £200,000 to help develop an organic solar cell that could eventually see the windows in our homes replaced by transparent, energy producing solar panels. Not only would this be a far more discreet and convenient means of harnessing solar power in the home, it could also prove to be far cheaper. Early research suggests that these cells could reduce the overall cost of solar devices by as much as 70%.

Another winner, Oaktec, is intending to use the £220,000 it has received to fund a system which is not dissimilar to technology first seen in the ‘80s classic movie, Back to the Future. It will be testing the feasibility of its Pulse-R engine system, which can use the untreated gas from landfill sites to power a self-supercharged biogas engine.

New skills and experiences for half a million jobseekers

Jobseekers have taken part in more than 469,000 voluntary placements through Jobcentre Plus since January 2011, according to new figures published today by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Around seven in ten participants were young people able to gain skills and experience to help them move into paid work. Accordingly, the number of young people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance is now at its lowest since the 1970s.

The numbers include:

  • More than 300,000 work experience placements
  • More than 169,000 placements in employer-led training schemes
  • Nearly 24,000 opportunities taken up by people over the age of 50
  • More than 84,000 opportunities taken up by people with disabilities

These education and training schemes are providing people of all ages with the necessary skills and confidence to gain further work. Over the period covered, 42 per cent of people undertaking work experience placements were offered a position when they finished.

Liberal Democrats are committed to building a stronger economy and providing opportunity for everyone. Today’s numbers, especially following last week’s announcement of record high employment, indicate that the job is getting done.

UK growth is now highest in the G7

Stronger Economy. Fairer Society.Growth in the UK has shown the strongest performance among G7 countries from 2013 to 2014, according to the latest report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander has welcomed the fact that today’s OECD report sets out that the best way to secure the recovery in the next Parliament is to finish the job of deficit reduction and to do so fairly by selective tax increases on the wealthy.

Danny said:

“There’s a famous saying that in life ‘the past is the best guide to the future’ and that is true in economic matters too. That’s why we are committed to offering that same balanced approach in the next Parliament as we have had in this Parliament, as endorsed today by the OECD.

“This report confirms that the UK economy is returning to health and highlights the vital role of key Liberal Democrat policies in the turn around. Our dramatic increases in the personal allowance, the greening of the economy, the focus on infrastructure, and putting the financial sector back on an even keel are just a few examples of where Liberal Democrat thinking has been central to the economic turnaround.

Our commitment to continue the same balanced approach in the next Parliament is in stark contrast to the Conservatives who are abandoning fairness and the centre ground. By urging years of cuts for cuts sake, by unfairly finishing the job of balancing the books on the backs of the least well off and undermining our position in Europe they will put this hard won recovery at risk”.

With the country on the right track, a lurch to the right with the Tories or to the left with Labour has never posed a greater danger to our economic recovery.

State-of-the-art bus information available in N E Lincs from next week

State-of-the-art bus information will be available in North East Lincolnshire next week

The real-time system goes live on Monday, March 2, in Grimsby town centre and at other key locations across the borough.

LED screens have been installed at the Riverhead Exchange and nearby bus stops, which will show when the next buses are due to arrive.

Screens are also in place at bus stops at Bargate, Dudley Street, Osborne Street and Bethlehem Street in Grimsby and Sea Road in Cleethorpes.

The system uses GPS tracking equipment on the buses to relay real-time locations to the bus stops, with an accurate estimated time of arrival.

To inform the public more about the system, the council is holding a number of road show events at the following venues:
• Riverhead Square and Riverhead Exchange, Grimsby, Monday, March 2, from 8am to 4pm.
• Grimsby Hospital, Tuesday, March 3, from 10am to 4pm.
• Grimsby Institute, Wednesday, March 4, from 10am to 4pm.
• Riverhead Square and Riverhead Exchange, Grimsby, Thursday, March 5, from 10am to 4pm.
• Bull Ring, Grimsby, Friday, March 6, from 10am to 12.45pm.
• Cleethorpes Pier, Friday, March 6, from 1.15pm to 4pm

The project is branded under the name “My next bus” and is being delivered in partnership with Stagecoach East Midlands through funding from the council’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund allocation from the government.

Dave Skepper, commercial director for Stagecoach East Midlands, said:

“We welcome North East Lincolnshire Council’s introduction of real time bus information to the Riverhead Exchange and key bus stops in Grimsby and Cleethorpes, which supports the recent £4 million investment by Stagecoach in 28 brand new buses for our local bus network under the Simplibus brand.”