William Hague tells ministers to help green industries boost economy

The government should do more to help green industries boost economic growth, stop the UK falling behind international rivals, and avoid losing its global leadership on the environment, William Hague has told cabinet colleagues, in a private letter.

The foreign secretary also warns in his letter to ministers that unless Britain takes stronger leadership on the green economy there is no hope of securing an international agreement on climate change.

The letter says the strategy would have five benefits: reducing exposure to volatile energy prices; revitalising manufacturing based in low carbon sectors; modernising infrastructure; reducing utility bills by cutting energy use, and it would have "a particular appeal for the under 30s".

"I believe we should reframe our response to climate change as an imperative for growth rather than merely being a way of being green or meeting environmental commitments," says Hague. "The low carbon economy is at the leading edge of a structural shift now taking place globally … we need to stay abreast of this, given our need for an export-led recovery and for inward investment in modern infrastructure and advanced manufacturing."

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