Massive new tax breaks for dirty gas and oil in today’s budget highlight how out of touch the UK Government is on climate change.

The Chancellor had already given fossil fuel firms tax breaks in previous Budgets worth £3 billion. George Osborne today announced a package of support worth £1.3 billion to North Sea gas and oil companies.

Friends of the Earth Scotland Director, Dr Richard Dixon, said:

“Rescuers in Vanuatu are still searching for bodies from a climate catastrophe, while the UK Government is announcing massive tax breaks aimed at squeezing yet more gas and oil out of the ground.

“The UK and Scottish Governments should work together to lead a serious discussion on how we plan the transition from fossil fuel jobs to renewable energy jobs.

“Government support for tidal power is certainly very welcome, but it’s a drop in the ocean compared to George Osborne’s multi-billion pound backing for fossil fuel firms over the past five years.

“With climate indicators flashing red, and growing calls to divest from gas and oil, the Chancellor should be pulling the plug on fossil fuels, instead of propping it up.

“Clean, secure renewable power should be at the heart of future energy policy, rather than an afterthought.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

1. George Osborne announced the Budget today at Westminster
2. Cyclone Pam: 24 confirmed dead as Vanuatu president blames climate change, The Guardian, 16 March 2015 http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/16/vanuatus-president-blames-c…
3. Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland research shows that UK tax breaks to oil and gas companies in 2013/14 totalled £2.7Billion. http://www.foe.co.uk/sites/default/files/downloads/14-worth-2.7-billion-…
Friends of the Earth Scotland is:
* Scotland's leading environmental campaigning organisation
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 74 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups.
www.foe-scotland.org.uk