Despite some welcome measures to increase investment in the low carbon economy [note 1], Friends of the Earth Scotland today said the Chancellor has missed a key opportunity to deliver a green new deal for the country, with extra green expenditure and a green tax shift.

Duncan McLaren commented: “The Chancellor has not let his left hand know what the right is doing. On the one hand he has chosen to increase taxes on the banking sector, while on the other continuing to allow the bailed out banks to fund environmentally damaging projects that will impose massive costs on future tax payers [note 2].

“He has elevated expenditure on low carbon options such as carbon capture, home insulation, and electric vehicles, but chosen to fund them not with green taxes, but by increasing national insurance, even though a green tax shift could bring hundreds of thousands more people into employment over the coming decade [note 3].

“He has chosen to spend more on improving railways, but also continues to expand Britain’s roads, and through his Strategic Investment Fund promises further potential help to companies such as Airbus.

“Overall, he has failed to deal a strong hand for his cabinet colleagues who will go to Copenhagen next week calling for elevated and radical effort to tackle climate change. This pre-budget report could have set the foundations delivering the UK’s climate targets through a green new deal funded largely by a green tax shift. Instead it has done little more than tie a few green ribbons onto a fundamentally unambitious package.”

For media enquiries please contact:
Per Fischer, Press Office, Friends of the Earth Scotland
T: 0131 243 2719

Notes to editors

1. Green measures announced in the PBR include:
Increase in funding to cover four carbon capture and storage demonstration plants. This makes it more likely that Longannet will get funding.
£200m extra for home insulation, with 75,000 extra households to benefit from the warm front insulation programme
Feed in tariff payments for domestic electricity generation to be tax-free
A household boiler ‘scrappage’ incentive to help replacement of inefficient boilers
Electric cars to be exempt from company car tax, and electric vans to get accelerated depreciation allowances
Extended investment in rail electrification
Support for at least £160m in low carbon investments through the Innovation Investment Fund and the Carbon Trust’s Venture Capital scheme
£90m for the European Investment Bank’s new 2020 fund, which will enable 6.5bn euros of finance for green infrastructure projects.
2. Nick Silver’s recent report revealed the massive liabilities accruing from RBS’s climate trashing investments: www.foe-scotland.org.uk/RBSreport2009

3. The Green Fiscal Commission’s recent report showed that a green tax shift doubling the share of tax revenues from green taxes to 15% could bring an extra 450,000 people into the workforce by 2020 as well as delivering the UK’s climate targets. www.greenfiscalcommission.org.uk

4. Friends of the Earth Scotland is the country’s leading independent environmental campaigning organisation, and is the only organisation in Scotland that is working for environmental justice, campaigning for the planet and its people. www.foe-scotland.org.uk