In this Fracking Week in Parliament:
- More questions and some answers on fracking protests and counter-terrorism policing
- Shale gas revenues and a sovereign wealth fund
With thanks to TheyWorkForYou.com for the transcripts
14 December 2016
Westminster Hall debate on UK sovereign wealth fund
Extract of speech by debate proposer John Penrose, Conservative, Weston-Super-Mare
The previous Chancellor floated the idea of a regional shale gas sovereign wealth fund, based on the proceeds from fracking. A number of Government assets could be added to any sovereign wealth fund, though in my paper [The Great Rebalancing: A sovereign wealth fund to make the UK’s economy the strongest in the G20], I do not propose that they should be, but there are respectable parallels. For example, the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund is based on the proceeds of its North sea oil. That is certainly an option to consider. I am not proposing it here, but it is certainly not beyond the bounds of possibility. There are very respectable parallels and antecedents elsewhere in the world.
Extract of speech by Jim Shannon, DUP, Strangford
There is talk of the Government’s shale fund being similar to this plan, as the hon. Member for Weston-super-Mare mentioned, but this is not the day to debate the pluses and minuses of fracking. A lot of hard work would need to be carried out before the fund saw any profit, but many are already making claims about the potential for shale oil, if that comes through—and I suspect that, at some time, it will. We must think about what can be done for the future benefit of all people in the UK. Today’s austerity is a reality for us all. We have to be honest in this House about moneys and finances.
Question by David Simpson, DUP, Upper Bann
Does my hon. Friend [Jim Shannon] agree that we have to look forward, when it comes to these funds? Oil prices, fracking and all the rest have been referred to, but we have to debate the issue as a whole, including wind turbines and all of that. Green energy could be as much as 40% more expensive, and we have to look at all of it. If we are going to put money in, we have to get the price correct.
Extract of speech by Simon Kirby, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Conservative, Brighton Kemptown
The hon. Member for Strangford mentioned a shale fund—a suggestion that others have made, too. The UK does not currently meet the criteria of a country that would benefit from a shale wealth fund: we have a high debt and a large deficit, and we do not have extensive commodity or natural resource exports. The development of the shale industry would leave a positive legacy for local communities and regions where it is based. The Government’s policy is for those communities to be able to choose to invest the funds for the long term. I thank the hon. Gentleman, as ever, for making a very thoughtful contribution that added greatly to the debate.
15 December 2016
Written questions on counter-terrorism and fracking
Questions by Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb, Green
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 24 November (HL3373):
- how the work of regional Counter Terrorism Units is monitored to ensure value for money.
- what checks are carried out by the Home Office, or by any bodies on its behalf, to ensure that police forces do not spend money allocated to counter-terrorism on activities with no connection to terrorism or serious crime.
- who is responsible for monitoring compliance by police forces with the National Police Chiefs’ Council guidance on policing linked to onshore oil and gas operations, and how compliance is reported to the Home Office.
- how many meetings have taken place since 2010 between the National Counter Terrorism Police Operations Centre and representatives of the coal and gas industry to discuss fracking protests.
Reply by Baroness Williams of Trafford, Home Office minister, Conservative
The Home Secretary allocates specific ring-fenced funding for Counter Terrorism Policing to ensure that police have the capabilities to deal with the terrorist threats that we face. This includes allocations at a regional level and to individual forces for specified activities, including for Counter-Terrorism Units. These allocations – and the details of the underpinning grant agreements – are sensitive and not in the public domain.
The Home Office oversees performance and delivery by CT policing, including monitoring and agreeing expenditure. In doing so, we work closely with the national lead for counter-terrorism policing and are supported by the National Counter-Terrorism Policing HQ. This oversight includes ensuring CT policing delivers efficiencies and value for money as part of the Spending Review settlement. Individual police forces are also subject to independent audit agreements.
The Home Office does not keep information on meetings held between the National Counter Terrorism Police Operations Centre and representatives of the coal and gas industry to discuss fracking protests.
The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) guidance on policing linked to onshore oil and gas draws on the experience and lessons learned by forces involved in previous policing operations involving anti-fracking protests.
This guidance is not compulsory and police forces may deviate from recommendations provided there is a clear reason to do so. The guidance is regularly reviewed by the National Police Lead responsible for Shale Oil and Gas Exploration on behalf of the NPCC.