Chancellor triples investment in transport and infrastructure spending, freezes fuel and alcohol duties, and removes VAT on digital publications
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Rishi Sunak, who replaced Sajid Javid only weeks ago, said he would intervene to protect public services and the economy over the coming months while providing the biggest boost to public investment for several generations to drive longer-term growth.
Delivering his first budget speech to the Commons, Sunak said the virus outbreak would be temporary but costly for businesses and the economy.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and in his budget the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, headed off down the motorway towards climate catastrophe, all the while proclaiming his intention to protect the environment.
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“Over £27bn of tarmac,” he announced, for 4,000 miles of major new roads. In stark contrast, low-carbon transport was put in the slow lane, getting £1bn.
Worse, Sunak flunked a golden opportunity to end the decade-long freeze on fuel duty that has pushed up traffic and pollution and suppressed bus and train travel. The oil price is now plummeting, but even if it had been raised drivers might not have seen any change in the price at the pump.
Transport emissions are now the biggest contributor to the UK’s carbon emissions and they are rising; 90% come from the roads. Emissions from transport are a key reason the government is on track to miss its own legally binding carbon targets.
The other key reason is the UK’s terribly energy inefficient buildings, which lose heat up to three times as quickly as homes in neighbouring countries. Making homes cleaner, cosier, and cheaper to heat, is a no-brainer. Yet there was not a single word on this in Sunak’s speech or the 125-page budget document.
This failure really matters, with the UK hosting a crucial UN climate in just eight months’ time. The summit, Cop26, in Glasgow, is a pledging party at which the world’s nations must offer much bigger emissions cuts to head off the climate crisis. The host needs to start the party with a splashy pledge, but Sunak just tossed in a crumpled fiver found in a back pocket…..