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Mini-budget fell far short of promoting low-carbon future for UK | Mini-budget 2022




The Chancellor, Kwasi Quarting, announced that the effective ban on onshore wind farms would be lifted, and the poorest households would regain access to isolation and energy efficiency measures.

Polls show that the wild wind is popular, with more than 70% of people supporting it. Jess Ralston, Senior Analyst at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, said: “The ban on onshore wind has been a huge anomaly in British energy policy because it is cheap and popular with the public. So the decision to lift the ban suggests [Kwarteng] He listened to the experts and understood that building more UK renewables reduces our dependence on costly gas and therefore lowers bills.”

These measures will help boost renewable energy generation and keep thousands of people’s homes warm in the next three years. But they were effectively the only tangible, low-carbon policies in a small budget that promised British energy companies an estimated £60 billion over the next six months, to protect consumers from rising bills, and rewarded North Sea oil and gas producers with a prospect of 100 new licenses. Experts say the latter will do nothing to improve the current energy crisis, and threaten the UK’s net greenhouse gas emissions target in the coming years.

The biggest gap was in home insulation. Kwarteng emphasized that £1 billion over three years would come from energy suppliers to be spent on the most vulnerable consumers. Many will be used for loft insulation and in some cases boiler replacements which are expected to save thousands of low-income people around £200 a year.

This still leaves no provision for the vast majority of UK households estimated at 19 million in need of home isolation. Amy Norman, a senior researcher at the Social Market Foundation, noted that because the government was paying energy producers directly, the lack of a home-isolation policy was affecting its balance sheet and the UK’s overall financial stability.

“How much energy people use is no longer just a private matter, but now a financial responsibility. With every unit of energy consumed now costing taxpayers, it is unfortunate that the government has done nothing to encourage demand reduction that can save households and government money.” A short-sighted refusal to do anything that might be seen as telling people what to do has impeded the construction of a cheaper and safer system.”


Experts said cutting the stamp duty was another missed opportunity. This could have been done with “green restrictions” or incentives such as attached rebates. Louise Hutchins, Head of Policy at the UK Green Building Council, said: “There is increasing support for a ‘stamp duty incentive to save energy’ as it will reward households for insulating their loft and walls, installing double glazing or installing a heat pump. They upgrade their property anyway – within two years of purchase. The scheme can be income-neutral for the government or be tied to additional support for struggling families who are in dire need of help insulating their homes.”

Nor has there been any move to recover any of the huge costs of government energy policy from companies that make a fortune from higher prices. Rebecca Newsom, head of policy at Greenpeace UK, said: “Failure to tax the obscene profits of fossil fuel giants and encourage bankers to get richer is reckless and unfair.

Rather than seeking to liberalize and attack those benefits, the new chancellor should look for ways to raise taxes on those who benefit from the crisis. This can help fund emergency household support and cover the vital investment needed in home insulation to help lower energy bills and climate emissions once and for all.”

Kate Norgrove of the World Wide Fund for Nature said that given the government is tearing up environmental regulations in the name of post-Brexit reforms, the outlook for climate and nature protection targets in the UK has been bleak, with detrimental effects on the economy.

“If the government is serious about boosting the UK’s economy, it should stop hyping about the climate and nature emergencies,” she said. “The only way for a growing and resilient economy is to invest in net-zero by expanding renewables, insulating our homes, and stimulating a shift to nature-friendly agriculture. Anything less would be a betrayal of people and the planet.”


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