Flint urges Government to come clean on DECC’s future

Shadow Energy Secretary Caroline Flint has called on Ministers to admit whether or not they have plans to abolish the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

Responding to comments made by former Energy Minister Greg Barker on BBC Radio 4 about the future of the Whitehall Department, Ms Flint said “the Government urgently needs to come clean about whether they are hiding plans to scrap the department responsible for tackling climate change”.

“DECC’s failure in this and the last Parliament to provide strong leadership on climate change and to stand up to the energy companies can’t be covered up by breaking up the department,” said Ms Flint.

 “If we are to set an example to the world ahead of the Paris climate conference in December, the Government needs to get serious about its feeble approach to climate change, not get rid of the responsible department.”

Speaking on BBC Radio 4, Mr Barker said that “getting rid of DECC would send a catastrophic signal”.

“We need a strong independent DECC with that voice around the Cabinet table,” he added.

But there have been numerous reports in recent months that DECC could be facing the axe, as the Treasury seeks to balance the books.

DECC along with other Whitehall departments, including the Department for Communities and Local Government are currently drawing up plans to cut budgets by 25% and 40%, as part of the Government’s next spending review.

Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, specializing in local government, transport and energy issues