Will Osborne sell out “greenest government ever” in Budget?

Dominic Browne catalogues the recent spate of government failures and half measures that undermine their stated aim of becoming the "greenest government ever".

George Osborne today trailed his intention to scrap Labour’s plan to raise tax on air travel in Wednesday’s Budget. The tax could have raised an estimated £140 million.

The Daily Mail reports:

“A family of four on a long-haul flight to Australia will dodge tax increases of £16 in economy class and £36 if they fly premium economy.”

Saving a family 16 or 36 pounds on a long distance holiday seems an odd priority for a government which aims to become “the greenest ever“. Not to mention one so desperate to reduce the deficit.

Only this weekend David Cameron, speaking on YouTube in support of Saturday’s “Earth Hour” – a campaign for people to switch off lights for 60 minutes – reiterated his aim to make this the “greenest government ever”.

The prime minister may be willing to support such voluntary actions with warm words but often the only policy “nudge” his government gives is away from a sustainable and green UK.

Left Foot Forward has recently shown:

• Instead of supporting new green initiatives and industries that could create jobs and save energy, since the government came to power green subsidies have come under threat;

• Oil interests are well represented in this government, including the former BP adviser expected to head up the coalition’s environment and energy policy;

• The transport secretary has stepped backwards more than forwards on green issues, reversing parking restictions and suggesting fuel prices should come down and speed limits should go up;

The government’s much vaunted Green Investment Bank is being undermined by infighting and under investment.

• Councils have been encouraged to spend millions funding bids they may not win to build more and more roads, rather than invest in sustainable intiatives or save front line services from cuts; and

• Boris Johnson last week attacked the government, hoping to change the one firm green commitment they appear to have made – refusing to sanction the building of new runways in the south of England.

The greenest government ever?

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