Green focus in new spending plan
The government is eager to keep its focus on sustainability by ploughing £535 million into green measures to help the economy, the chancellor announced in his pre-Budget report.
Alistair Darling said he would take ‘the right long-term decisions to protect the environment, create low carbon jobs and provide energy security’.
A chunk of the money has been earmarked to improve energy efficiency. The Warm Front programme, which gives grants to improve insulation and heating to private renters and owner-occupiers on low incomes, has been given a £150 million boost with £100 million of new cash and £50 million brought forward.
‘The government’s pledge could lead to a substantial reduction in carbon emissions attributed to our housing,’ said Neil May, chair of the Good Homes Alliance. But Mr May warned that education was essential to ensure people made the right decisions on sustainability.
The pre-Budget report emphasised the low carbon workforce’s role in the economic recovery. The government hopes to swell the sector’s 350,000 employment pool to 1 million by 2028. This growth will be helped by the £50 billion of investment that it claims to be channelling into the low carbon sector between this year and 2011. The government will set up a forum to ensure that green skill needs are identified and met.
Mr Darling also pledged to monitor energy companies to ensure they pass on price cuts to consumers. He will consider using statutory powers to force the issue on energy companies if they failed to act fast enough.