FoE respond to the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement

Commenting on Chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Statement today, West Midlands Friends of the Earth’s campaigner Chris Crean said: “George Osborne’s Autumn Statement will send a wintery blast through the UK’s future economic prospects.

“Throwing billions of pounds at roads and dirty energy will increase our dependency on gas, coal and oil and lock cash-strapped homes and businesses into spiraling fuel bills.

“Just a fraction of the money earmarked for new roads would throw a crucial lifeline to the solar industry – and the 30,000 jobs currently under threat from Government cuts.

“It’s astounding that the Chancellor has rewarded lobbying by some of the world’s biggest businesses with a £250 million license to pollute – and using funds culled from benefits rubs salt into the wound.

“The Green Investment Bank could drive a real economic recovery, but by refusing to let it off the leash the Chancellor’s missed a golden opportunity to build a safe, clean economy from the rubble of the old.”

As far as the West Midlands is concerned we heard one word; ROADS. In the National Infrastructure Plan all we got was money for more road infrastructure. While other regions got some limited support for rail infrastructure the Midlands got none.

Crean continued: “This is locking us into a high carbon dependence on the private car and locking out all of the more sustainable alternatives. We are arguing for tough international commitments at the climate change talks in Durban while at home we are ignoring the sustainable green alternatives such as mass transit, walking and cycling and at the same time ripping up support for greener energy with the review of the feed in tariff. Much of the road infrastructure is linked to airports at Birmingham, Coventry and Nottingham further increasing our reliance on carbon and this will make giving up our oil addiction even harder.”