Boris Johnson: UK 'setting example' for green agenda
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The Prime Minister yesterday claimed the ambitious target could be achieved without families having to give up flying abroad for holidays or driving cars. He insisted: “Green is good, green is right, green works.” But a Treasury report warned the strategy was likely to lead to long-term tax rises to cover a bill estimated as high as £1trillion over 30 years.
Mr Johnson was speaking at a business summit hosted by the Government in London to raise billions of pounds of investment for clean technology projects.
He said: “The market is going green and people know we have the technological solutions to these problems and they want to go green.”
He also announced a new partnership with computer entrepreneur Bill Gates to drive an extra £200million of private-sector investment in green power schemes in the UK.
The Prime Minister said the power of consumer choice and the trillions of dollars able to be invested by companies were essential for creating green growth and jobs.
Ahead of the COP26 environment summit in Glasgow this month, ministers yesterday announced full details of the Government’s strategy.
Key measures, in tune with the Daily Express Green Britain crusade, include:
●Securing or creating 440,000 well-paid jobs in green technology industries by unlocking £90billion of investment by 2030.
●A new £450million three-year Boiler Upgrade Scheme to provide household grants to install cleaner heating systems.
●An extra £350million to boost the supply of electric cars.
●A further £620million for targeted electric vehicle grants and infrastructure including local on-street residential charge points.
●£140million Industrial and Hydrogen Revenue Support scheme to accelerate industrial carbon capture and low-carbon hydrogen production.
●An extra £500million towards innovation projects to develop the green technologies of the future.
●£124million that will give boost to the Nature for Climate Fund.
●£120million towards the development of nuclear projects through the Future Nuclear Enabling Fund. In his foreword to the strategy, he said: “For years, going green was inextricably bound up with a sense that we have to sacrifice the things we love. But this strategy shows how we can build back greener without so much as a hair shirt in sight. In 2050, we will still be driving cars, flying planes and heating our homes, but our cars will be electric gliding silently around our cities.
“Our planes will be zero emission allowing us to fly guilt-free, and our homes will be heated by cheap reliable power drawn from the winds of the North Sea.”
However, Rishi Sunak’s Treasury delivered a stark warning about the burden, saying that the transition will have “material fiscal consequences”.
The analysis pointed out that Government subsidies such as those for electric cars tend to favour the wealthy while piling on costs for poorer families.
It also warned: “There will be demands on public spending, but the biggest impact comes from the erosion of tax revenues from fossil fuel-related activity. If there is to be additional public spending, the Government may need to consider changes to existing taxes and new sources of revenue.”
Paul Johnson, director of the IFS think-tank, said: “We are looking at well over a trillion pounds over the next 30 years as we build more renewable electricity, as we convert our houses, as we move to electric cars and so on and so on.”
In the Commons, Business Minister Greg Hands said: “We will fully embrace this new green industrial revolution helping the UK to level up as we build back better and get to the front of the global race to go green.
“We need to capitalise on this to ensure British industries and workers benefit.” He added: “This plan is our best route, overcoming current challenges as well. The current price spikes in gas show the need to rapidly reduce our reliance on volatile imported fossil fuels.”
Rebecca Newsom, of Greenpeace, said: “It would seem that the Treasury might actually be starting to get it. Taking a longer-term view of the huge economic opportunities from climate action, as well as the costs of inaction, is the right approach.
“Rishi Sunak’s also right to emphasise fairness in the transition, which will be an increasingly critical issue.”
Federation of Small Businesses chairman Mike Cherry said the commitments “mark a starting point – a foundation on which government can build the support measures small firms will need to achieve net zero”.
Shevaun Haviland, of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “This is a positive step on the journey to net zero, however many questions on how we will get there still remain unanswered.”
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