Greens respond to budget’s ‘climate-shaped hole’

Greens have expressed disappointment in the recently announced Autumn Budget’s absence of climate policies, with Caroline Lucas calling the announcement a ‘dereliction’ of the UK’s responsibility as COP26 hosts.

Rishi Sunak holding a briefcase

Credit: Crown Copyright

Green World

Yesterday, Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled the Government’s Autumn Budget, with plans focused on a ‘post-Covid’ era, paving the way for an ‘economy of higher wages, higher skills, and rising productivity’. 

The Chancellor pledged a significant increase in public spending, with total departmental spending to increase by £150 billion by 2024-25, which the minister states is ‘the largest increase this century’. The Budget also appeared to address concerns about Universal Credit cuts, including measures to allow working claimants to retain more of their benefits. 

The Budget, however, has been criticised by the Greens for a lack of action on climate. Certain measures appear to be taking the UK in the ‘wrong direction’, such as the planned cuts to short-haul flights. 

Responding to the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget, Green Party co-leader Adrian Ramsay said: "Once again the Chancellor has shown that he simply does not understand the scale of what is required to tackle the climate crisis. In fact, by cutting air passenger duty and boasting about cheaper fuel for cars he is taking us in the wrong direction.

"The public is ready for urgent action on climate – 94 per cent support our policy of a carbon tax and they understand that climate action means better quality of life with warmer homes, cleaner air and cheaper and more accessible public transport.

"We’re being held back by a Chancellor who sees the green transition as a cost rather than an opportunity. Did Rishi Sunak miss the memo about us being in a climate emergency?"

MP Caroline Lucas added: “With just five days to go before the start of COP26, it was astonishing that the Chancellor didn’t even mention the words climate or nature. The climate-shaped hole at the heart of this budget couldn’t be more glaring.

“One wonders if he’s even checked the calendar because when he goes to Glasgow to meet fellow finance ministers next week, he will be going empty-handed, with nothing to offer on the climate crisis.

“This wasn’t just a failure to address the climate emergency.  With more money for roads, and with short-haul flights cheaper, it actually took us backwards. It’s hard to think of a greater dereliction of our responsibility as COP hosts."