Green revolution: Rishi Sunak unveils £3bn project to cut carbon emissions


    Rishi Sunak

    Rishi Sunak (Image: Getty)

    He will also propose refitting a swathe of social housing with modern heat pumps, double glazing and insulation to help build a greener UK. Britain must “build back greener” as the country bounces back from the slump caused by the lockdown, he will say. Mr Sunak will put improving the environment at the heart of his mini-budget tomorrow designed to fuel job creation as the economy recovers from months of shut down.

    His £3billion investment in environmental schemes comes on top of £5billion in infrastructure projects announced by Boris Johnson last week to kick start the economy with a construction boom.

    Key measures in the Chancellor’s statement to MPs will include £1bilion for cutting pollution from public buildings across the UK as part of the Government’s aim for achieving a carbon-neutral economy by 2050.

    The Chancellor will also earmark £50million for refitting council homes and other social housing to improve their energy efficiency.

    Rosie Rogers, Greenpeace UK’s head of green recovery, said: “Surely this is just a down payment?

    The Chancellor will also earmark £50million for refitting council homes

    The Chancellor will also earmark £50million for refitting council homes (Image: Getty)

    “The German government’s pumping a whopping £36billion into climate-cutting, economy-boosting measures and France is throwing £13.5billion at tackling the climate emergency – £3 billion isn’t playing in the same league.

    “Of course this money is better than nothing, but it doesn’t measure up to the economic and environmental crises.

    “It’s not enough to create the hundreds of thousands of new green jobs that are needed. It’s not enough to insulate all of the homes and buildings that need to be kept warm and more energy efficient.

    “It’s not enough to ‘build back greener’, and it’s certainly not enough to put us on track to tackle the catastrophic impacts of the climate emergency.”

    Dr Jonathan Marshall, the head of analysis at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, said: “Although the move to improve public buildings will sustain jobs and reduce carbon emissions, businesses, academics and campaigners are likely to be disappointed with what appears to be a rowing back on manifesto commitments to take action on the UK’s leaky homes.

    “By cutting what was promised for insulating public buildings, removing promises to tackle fuel poverty and dialing down action for social housing, the gap between what was announced and what was pledged is growing.

    “Report after report has highlighted the fact that a housing retrofit scheme could deliver hundreds of thousands of good jobs up and down the country, starting literally within weeks of being given a green light.

    “If Mr Johnson’s government does not accept that evidence now, with thousands facing the threat of unemployment and many more paying higher energy bills than they would in better-insulated homes, some will inevitably question their commitment to that manifesto pledge.

    “This week’s package is not of course the end of the matter, with further announcements expected in the Autumn.

    “The other side of the coin is of course that other nations are watching closely what the UK does, as the host of next year’s delayed COP26 summit, to see whether it is acting as the climate change leader it claims to be – specifically, whether it will use the public’s money in such a way to get on track to its own net zero target by measures that, for example, make energy use less wasteful.”

    Brian Berry, the chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders, said: “The Chancellor must deliver on last week’s commitments to build back better and greener with a recovery package that places local builders at the heart.

    “The Federation of Master Builders welcomed the Government’s unprecedented support measures for firms during the lockdown, and hopes for similar scale and creativity to protect local construction jobs and training opportunities.”

    Mr Sunak last night faced a call from Tory MPs in the north of England for major investment in their region to be included in his package tomorrow.

    Seven backbenchers who won their seats in the Tory surge in former Labour heartlands at the last general election signed an open letter to the Chancellor calling for a series of radical proposals including a “Northern Opportunity Fund” to promote investment in science, innovation and research and development in the North.

    The letter was backed by the Northern Policy Foundation, a think tank set up by Tory MPs.

    Dehenna Davison, Tory MP for Bishop Auckland and a signatory to the letter, said: “Re-building and levelling up the North has never been more important.

    “Despite the challenges this year has thrown at us, we still have an excellent opportunity to improve local economies and prospects for people here in the North.

    “In particular, investment in research and innovation is critical to boosting wages, opportunity and life chances.

    “That’s why the Northern Policy Foundation is asking the Chancellor to consider creating a Northern Opportunity Fund to focus investment where it is needed most.”


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