Climate Watch: nothing in the UK budget for climate mitigation

On 3 March 2021, Rishi Sunak (left) the British Finance Minister (aka Chancellor of the Exchequer), presented his budget for the year ahead and beyond. Headline issues – taxes are going up for corporations (from 19-25pc) and for workers (freezing of tax thresholds). Public-sector wages are going up at a level essentially half that of inflation (equating to a pay cut) and public services will receive less money into the future, including the National Health Service. There is no support for social care.

Whilst the idea of corporation tax going up seems good, it depends on how many small/medium-sized enterprises get caught out by it relative to those firms that offshore much of the taxable earnings.

The budget also provides perks for homeowners looking to sell already price-inflated properties (stamp duty). There are no proposals regarding wealth or capital gains taxes. Those with wealth will keep it, seemingly.

What about climate change? What about investment in sustainable technologies and lifestyle changes needed to reach net-carbon zero by 2050? Erm, nothing. One programme – £1.5bn green homes scheme – seemingly failed, despite grants available to insulate homes and switch to alternative heating methods such as heat pumps. What I did not know is that the government had outsourced this programme to a US company (Virginia) that failed to pay the grants to applicants. This led to some firms actually having to shed workers (Guardian, 5 March 2021).

There is a new investment bank being set up (the Cameron Government sold a very similar entity in 2012), but its capital is paltry – £12bn. That might sound a lot, but this is a climate emergency, and unlike the pandemic, it is not going away. And what is more, the investments are not guaranteed to be climate zero or below – the priority is jobs, it seems, not carbon.

Finally, as the Guardian rightly points out, there is no money for public awareness; to promote the small things that all citizens can do such as eat less meat, recycle/reuse, save energy, etc. Without a broad change in attitudes, it is business as usual until it is not.

Pic: By Chris McAndrew – https://tinyurl.com/yxyt5be7

1 comment so far

  1. […] the ignominy of trying to open a new deep mine for coal in Cumbria, in North West England and the debacle of the Green Homes Initiative, the Government has now granted licences to oil and gas companies to search for – and extract […]


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