Spring Statement - reaction
Commenting on the Chancellor’s Spring Statement, Friends of the Earth’s head of policy, Mike Childs, said:
“It’s astonishing that the Chancellor continues to allow fossil fuel firms to rake in enormous profits while cash-strapped households struggle with their bills.
“A windfall tax on these companies could have funded energy efficiency and eased the burden on those most affected. The measures introduced today will only scratch the surface of what’s needed to help people save energy.
“With its vast renewable energy resources, the UK is sitting on a gold mine of cheap, almost limitless homegrown energy. Investment in energy from the wind, waves and sun must be the cornerstone of the government’s forthcoming energy strategy, along with a properly funded nationwide insulation programme to fix our heat-leaking homes and reduce fuel bills.”
“While a cut in duty will reduce fuel bills, this will largely benefit wealthier households who tend to have bigger vehicles and drive more. The priority should have been to follow the lead of New Zealand by reducing the price of public transport and providing a more affordable alternative to driving.
“Plans to end our dependency on increasingly costly fossil fuels to get around must be accelerated. Public transport must be rapidly expanded and made cheaper to encourage more people to leave the car at home, with particular focus on our woefully inadequate rural bus services.
“Cycling is a great healthy alternative for areas with decent segregated cycle lanes, but the UK is still decades behind countries such as the Netherlands and Denmark in making cycling safe everywhere. Electric vehicles are part of the solution too, and are much cheaper to run than petrol and diesel cars.”