‘Greenest Budget desperately needed but not delivered’

‘There’s nothing green about the jobs created by a new coal mine in Cumbria’ (pic West Cumbria Mining)

Today’s Budget (Wednesday, March 3) represents a missed opportunity to help tackle the climate emergency, according to CPRE, the countryside charity.
Responding to Rishi Sunak’s Budget Statement, Crispin Truman, chief executive of CPRE, the countryside charity, said: “The Chancellor’s Budget simply doesn’t add up – the government can’t claim to have a ‘real commitment to green growth’ while using funding models that systematically disadvantage rural communities and worsen the climate emergency” said Mr Truman.
“By levelling up between urban and rural investment, not just north and south, we could regenerate many rural towns and villages that have been long forgotten.
“It’s just not right that government spending per person on public infrastructure is 44 per cent higher for urban areas than it is for rural areas with no major cities. We risk levelling up northern cities to the level of London and leaving rural areas stuck in disadvantage and decline.
“Today, the Chancellor has also missed a golden opportunity to prove that the government really means business when it talks about the UK being a genuine world leader in tackling the climate emergency.
“What we need is for the government to help create green and sustainable jobs up and down the country that help real people, while also making the UK economy greener.
“The Chancellor mentioned ‘green growth’, ‘green industries’ and ‘green projects’ nine times, but there’s nothing green about the jobs created by a new coal mine in Cumbria.
“He should be stimulating jobs in areas like Cumbria with renewable energy and energy efficiency, rather than through a coal mine that will be disastrous for carbon emissions and disastrous for our international reputation on climate in equal measure.
“All in all, a disappointing Budget for climate, communities and the countryside.”

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

How the Chancellor’s ‘mini-Budget’ missed the mark on transport and housing

‘We are urging the government to scrap the planned road spending and put this money to much better use’

CPRE, the countryside charity, has said that Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s ‘mini-Budget’ missed the mark on transport and housing.
The Chancellor had been aiming to revive the economy through his A Plan for Jobs mini-Budget, announced earlier this month, but Tom Fyans, CPRE campaigns and policy director, said: “While we have seen promising starts on energy efficiency and shoring up rural hospitality businesses, the Chancellor has missed major opportunities to begin building back better when it comes to transport and housing investment.”
Mr Fyans addressed several issues in the mini-Budget:
On existing homes: “The £3 billion announced on energy efficiency is a good start but must be swiftly followed by a National Retrofit Strategy that CPRE has been calling for in our new report Greener, Better, Faster and a plan for longer-term investment. Decarbonising our homes and buildings is essential to preventing runaway climate change. We expect to see further investment in reducing emissions from our existing homes via the £9bn for energy-efficiency schemes promised by Boris Johnson in the Conservative Party’s general election manifesto at the end of last year.”
On new homes: “We understand the Chancellor wants to reboot the construction sector, but he’s pulling the wrong lever with a Stamp Duty holiday. By investing in social and genuinely affordable housing instead, he could drive up build rates and provide the homes that are so desperately needed, especially in rural areas. We cannot accept that private rentals in nine out of 10 rural areas are unaffordable for care workers. We urge the government to begin investing in homes for our heroes and tackling the housing crisis.”
On transport: “Any serious claims to a green recovery are being completely undermined by the out-of-touch £27bn road-building plans that will drive up emissions and will likely not be needed with homeworking on the rise. In the mini-Budget we did not hear one mention of public transport, the low-carbon alternative to the private car that is so desperately needed, especially in disconnected rural areas. We are urging the government to scrap the planned road spending and put this money to much better use. Diverting some of this funding to a dedicated rural transport fund would have a dramatic impact connecting up towns and villages with affordable, convenient and low-carbon public transport.”
On rural economies: “The Chancellor was absolutely right to highlight hard-hit rural businesses in the hospitality industry and we welcome the ‘eat out to help out’ vouchers. We can all play our part in supporting local businesses as we emerge from lockdown. Our hope is that these vouchers will help get small rural restaurants, pubs and cafes back on their feet as lockdown eases and holiday season begins, with many of us choosing to go on a staycation here in the UK rather than venturing abroad.”

Friday, July 31, 2020