Stephen Kinnock: Does this not ultimately boil down to risk management? Any business looking to invest will weigh up its risks; if we are looking at continuing a subsidy through to 2017, that will clearly play a role in how a business thinks about its risk portfolio before it actually makes the investment that it needs to make. Nobody here is saying that it is black or white—subsidies for ever or straight to a CfD. What we are saying is let us help these businesses, many of which are nascent but very important, to manage their risks. That is surely the role of Government: to have a proactive strategy to help businesses manage their risks and go forward.
I absolutely agree; my hon. Friend makes the case very powerfully. It is what I have heard on the Select Committee time and again, across a variety of renewable technologies. No one argues with the Minister’s point that as costs come down, subsidies should, in a stable and certain flight path, also reduce with them. What we take issue with is the early closure, as announced in June with very little consultation.
This could have been done in a much more effective way, in negotiation and consultation with the industry, where we move to different contracts for different regimes more stably. If the Minister is willing and happy to give the onshore wind industry the certainty that it is looking for around contracts for difference, I am sure we would be happy to hear that. What we have at the moment is a policy vacuum, when we had, before, not indefinite public subsidy but a certain flight path off it through the ending of the renewables obligation in 2017.