ADBA reacts to Claire Coutinho’s appointment as new Secretary for Energy Security and Net Zero
Following a mini-reshuffle triggered by the resignation of Ben Wallace as Defense Secretary, Claire Coutinho has been appointed as the new Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ).
Her background mirrors that of the Prime Minister: Coutinho attended school in Dulwich, went to Oxford, worked in investment banking in the City, and then became Special Adviser to Rishi Sunak during his time as Chief Secretary to the Treasury. Once elected as MP for East Surrey in December 2019, Coutinho held the offices of Under Secretary of State for Disabled People, Health and Work, then Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children, Families and Wellbeing. With these leadership experiences under her belt, she is set to take over from Grant Shapps to become the seventh Energy Secretary in the last four years.
In a statement on Twitter accepting the post, Coutinho wrote, “I will work with the Prime Minister to safeguard our energy security, reduce bills for families, and build cleaner, cheaper, homegrown energy.” The latter statement reflects the growing need for energy security and net zero policies to be intertwined, and for the solutions to both to rely as little as possible on outside input. This focus is great news for the AD industry, which offers a readily implementable, renewable source of energy from the recycling of organic waste.
Beyond Whitehall, responses to Coutinho’s appointment have been mixed. Caroline Lucas, former leader of the Green Party and MP for Brighton, tweeted – “Congrats to Claire Coutinho as new Energy Secretary – who’s mentioned climate change a grand total of three times in parliamentary debates – not exactly inspiring my confidence!” Tessa Khan, executive director of Uplift, was more positive about the possibility of a new Energy lead in government. “With fresh eyes, she will hopefully realise that new fields, like Rosebank, which will see billions in subsidies go to oil companies, are a bad deal for Britain.”
Whilst Coutinho’s relative silence on the issue of climate change and net zero thus far in her political career might render her mysterious, it also opens up an opportunity for up-and-coming green industries to shape her tenure. ADBA looks forward to engaging with Ms Coutinho and wishes her the best of luck for the future.