A green budget? The response from National CPRE

As the Chancellor announces the latest government budget, National CPRE has assessed the promises being made and asks:  where’s the green investment?

Hopes for the greenest budget ever fizzled out and in the words of our CEO Crispin Truman, this budget ‘simply doesn’t add up’.  The green leadership that the government’s rhetoric promises isn’t borne out, as we see economic policies being pursued that could disadvantage the lives of people in rural communities and worsen the climate crisis.

Missed chances to balance rural and urban

The challenges to the economy following the impact of the pandemic could have been met head-on with climate-friendly, community-boosting green measures.  At CPRE, we’re looking to see moves from the government towards levelling up between urban and rural investment as well as money towards green industries that could bring a wave of new jobs.

44% more spent on urban areas per person

But what we’ve seen today is that the Chancellor has not put his money where his mouth is. It’s not right that government spending per person on public infrastructure is 44% higher for urban areas than it is for rural areas without major cities – but far from using this budget to address this, the government has let this chance slide past.

A gap where green jobs should be

In his budget statement, Rishi Sunak talked about ‘green jobs’.  At a time when unemployment figures make for unhappy reading, the government has the option to put investment towards stimulating jobs in renewable energy and energy efficiency – an area ripe with opportunity.

But today, we saw the Chancellor miss the chance to can plans for a new coal mine and prove that the government means business when it talks about being a world leader in tackling climate change.

As the eyes of the world turn to the UK in advance of hosting the major climate crisis conference, COP26, in Glasgow in November, today we’ve seen a budget that has a gap where chances for green and sustainable new jobs should be.

Disappointing: but we’re still working

Crispin describes the 2021 spring budget as being ‘disappointing for climate, communities and the countryside.’  But we at CPRE are undeterred.  We’ll keep working hard for the countryside, its communities and all of us who benefit from our country’s amazing green spaces.

At a time when we know that the countryside has sustained us during a challenging year and is valued more than ever, we’ll keep up the pressure on the government to do everything it can. This means finding affordable, well-designed places to live in the right places, calling for cleaner energy and ensuring that communities are served with the standard of local transport that they deserve.