If it were not for the fact we live in a hugely open and democratic society, one would have to ask who on earth is our chancellor taking his lead from. His peers, the UK public, indeed the world seem to get the case for supporting the green agenda for the environmental issues but also the proven contribution that the green sector can contribute significantly to economic growth and energy supply issues.
Billing it as a “Budget for people who aspire to work hard and get on”, the chancellor unveiled his plan to get the UK economy back on track.
Osborne began with a warning that, “creating a low carbon economy should be done in a way that creates jobs rather than costing them”. Meaning ??
The chancellor continued: “I want Britain to tap into new sources of low cost energy like shale gas. So I am introducing a generous new tax regime. And by the summer, new planning guidance will be available alongside specific proposals to allow local communities to benefit. Shale gas is part of the future. And we will make it happen.”
Reacting to the news, Greenpeace energy campaigner Lawrence Carter said: “This is unfair on struggling households, especially when everyone from the energy regulator Ofgem to BP to the energy secretary says UK fracking won’t bring down bills.”
Positively, Osborne also announced that government will be taking two major carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects to the next stage of development. Peterhead Project in Aberdeenshire and the White Rose Project in Yorkshire.
Energy minister John Hayes said: “We are working quickly to our goal of a cost competitive CCS industry - and these projects are just the start. In the past year we have demonstrated there is significant appetite from industry to invest in UK CCS, providing jobs and investment opportunities.”
Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Party, commented: “This is effectively business as usual - an approach that has delivered us youth unemployment of 21.2% and plummeting real wages. What he should have done today is to announce a serious programme of investment in the successful green economy.”
Greenpeace executive director John Sauven concluded: “This was a twentieth-century budget for a twenty-first century economy. We got tax breaks for polluters and almost complete disinterest in the green economy, one of the only sectors that has consistently delivered jobs and growth in recent years. British businesses stand poised to become dominant forces in the global clean energy market, but they’re being undermined by a chancellor who seems increasingly ill-suited to the times we live in. This man lacks a vision.”
I have to say given the global picture and positive government support of late at the top of the tree, On Osborne - I have to agree with John.