I am delighted to have been appointed by the Prime Minister as the new Minister of State for Energy, and I am looking forward to working with and supporting my friend Amber Rudd in her new role as the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.
I would also like to wish Matt Hancock well in his move to the Cabinet Office, and I pay tribute to the work that he did.
It is a crucial time for our energy sector, as we look to move to a cleaner greener future by transitioning away from coal, whilst still ensuring that we keep the lights on in homes and businesses at the lowest possible cost to the taxpayer. Our nuclear power stations – the reliable “always on” backbone of our current system – are ageing, and it is vital that we consider how we will replace, and expand, their capacity. The opportunities for domestic shale gas to provide us with energy security here at home are untapped, and we must look at how we can increase our onshore drilling within our world-leading regulatory framework.
And, of course, working with industry and with Ofgem we have to continue to make it easier for smaller independent energy suppliers to compete with the big six in the domestic retail market. We already know that a majority of households stay with the same supplier year-in and year-out, despite the opportunities for savings that can be made by moving to someone else, and an increase in the suppliers competing in the marketplace will have a downward pressure on prices for consumers.
Finally, I would like to thank all the excellent team at the Treasury for their hard work and dedication in sorting out the appalling mess we inherited from Labour. I wish my successor Harriett Baldwin all the very best as she takes over from me as Economic Secretary to the Treasury and City Minister; I know she will do well!