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Alistair Darling has set out his new Budget for the United Kingdom to a fairly mixed reaction. Here we have a look at what the Labour Party are planning for the green economy – and I have to say it is really more of the same – missed opportunities and muddled thinking. On the plus side the Chancellor announced some interesting new inititiaves but you will see below that too many of his plans fall into the ‘amber’ or ‘red’ categories in my opinion – short term clumsy economic or environmental fixes.
The world’s first binding ‘carbon budget’ committing Britain to cut carbon emissions by 22% by 2012 and 34% by 2020 (but this Government doesn’t seem to good at keeping commitments)
£4.5 billion to kick start re-investment in stalled wind farms – however £4 billion comes from the European Investment Bank – but good news.
£1.4 billion to support low carbon industries, low carbon industries and green jobs – although of this £525 million is included in the above figure for wind farms and is added EIB funds. Another £575 will promote energy efficiency in homes and business and promote community heating
Exemption for combined heat/power plants from climate-change levy
Commitment to build at least two and possibly four carbon capture and storage demonstration plants (but paid for by a levy on consumer utility bills)
£100 million of government funded science budget pushed towards research with economic – possibly green – potential
Tax concessions to the North Sea oil and gas industries as the government look to pump more fossil fuels (and benefit from the taxation)
Car scrappage scheme of £2000 per car for vehicles over 10 years old now applies to all new cars and no longer promotes a move to green, more fuel efficient cars or electric cars.