A Budget Packed with Missed Opportunities

23 April 2009

The Labour government has missed a golden opportunity to create huge numbers of jobs in emerging industries, says the Green Party.

Caroline Lucas, the MEP for the South East and the Green Party's leader, told Radio 4's The World at One the government's throwing away the potential to create hundreds of thousands of extra jobs from:

• Investment in good insulation for buildings
• solar energy and other renewables
• upgrading the electricity grid
• public transport
• new skills training.

Dr Lucas pointed out that the government has ignored its own watchdog, the Sustainable Development Commission. The SDC proposed a £30bn package -- very similar to the Green Party's Budget proposals - which would have created 800,000 jobs.

Another missed opportunity to create jobs comes in the form of the so-called scrappage scheme. (Cash for Bangers, 22nd April).

The scheme, where you can trade in an old car for a new one, with £2000 as a subsidy, will encourage people to switch their spending and overall will mean a loss of jobs. Instead of home improvements or new furniture, people are being encouraged to buy a car. While the economy is struggling, there will now be knock-on job losses in other areas.

If the scheme had any green credentials, the new car would have to be low emission or lower than the car being scrapped. That isn't the case. It's quite possible for people to trade in a small fuel efficient model and swap it for a gas guzzler. That doesn't help anyone interested in building a better future.

Dr Lucas described the chancellor's "green stimulus" as "one-tenth or less of what's needed for the UK to meet serious emissions targets".


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