Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne’s Autumn Statement was dominated by short-term political considerations and a failure yet again to either address the underlying, structural problems which weaken the health of the British economy or move us to a low-carbon, affordable energy future, says the Green Party. Nothing has been done to prepare for the economic storm on the horizon.
In the Autumn Statement, Osborne insisted that “Britain’s economic plan is working” and that the Coalition Government is overseeing a “responsible recovery.”
In response to the Autumn Statement, Natalie Bennett, Green Party Leader for England and Wales, said:
"Mr Osborne was so keen to claim that this was an Autumn Statement for the long term, yet on this issue, as others, he is clearly a man who protests too much.
"Our current economic position is based on high and growing consumer indebtedness, as households are forced to borrow to cover basic costs, and a government-supported housing bubble. The Chancellor says that the sun is shining. Well that proves he hasn't looked out the window today, or looked into the lives of millions of Britons who are struggling to pay the bills, in far too many cases forced to resort to extortionate payday lenders or foodbanks to get by.”
"Instead of working to restructure our economy, to rein-in our reckless, fraud-ridden financial sector, to boost manufacturers and the real economy, to create stable, decent-paying jobs that workers can build a life on, Mr Osborne's focus is instead clearly short-term – to inflate the economy for the mere 18 months to the next General Election."
Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, said:
“The Autumn statement was yet another missed opportunity to take the action that we need that will genuinely move us to a low-carbon, affordable energy future.
“The Chancellor has done nothing to tackle the root causes of fuel poverty or soaring fuel bills. Instead of watering down energy companies’ obligations, he should have announced a major programme to make all homes super-energy efficient. If funded through recycled carbon taxes, this could bring an estimated nine out of ten homes out of fuel poverty, quadruple carbon savings, and create up to 200,000 jobs across the UK.” (1)
“The Chancellor has delivered a lavish Christmas gift to fracking companies – giving them tax breaks to support an irresponsible and dangerous dash for gas that will undermine the urgent action we need to reduce our carbon emissions.
“It’s ironic that a Chancellor who talks about going green is quite happy for the UK to continue to fund massive subsidies for both nuclear and fossil fuels. Taking real action to tackle climate change would create jobs, transform the economy, and help us meet our duty to secure a safe and habitable climate for future generations."