Budget flights to Copenhagen
With economies as unmanageable as Marley the rom-com dog, the TUC welcomed the G20’s tightening leash on the global financial system – and new funds for the poorest countries. The G20 communiqué was right to say that, “We face the greatest challenge to the world economy in modern times”. But they put off climate change to the Copenhagen conference.
So, with the TUC’s Budget for jobs and green growth we now have the chance to address climate change and recovery. Our green Budget will save jobs and get Britain marching down what the CBI is calling a Revolutionary Road (ie the path to a low carbon economy).
The TUC’s package is a stimulating two-thirds pure green – a £25bn Public Investment Programme to 2010-11, including a green public works programme worth £16.8 billion. Our asks include green manufacturing and renewable energy; a green rail stimulus; making the UK a leader in low carbon vehicles; action on home insulation and much more. Our other test is to avoid initiatives that will cancel out the green ones. So we are also calling for a range of hopefully environmentally-neutral labour market support programmes, such as short-term working subsidies and an increase in JSA.
Our proposals take the UK’s stimulus package to roughly 3.25 per cent of GDP – when added to the 1.6 per cent in last November’s Pre Budget Report.
We don’t accept that a further stimulus cannot be afforded, or that monetary policy alone can bring us through the crisis. The CBI, too, makes some interesting calls in its low carbon programme, asking government to ‘buy a fleet of electric vehicles to show its commitment to low carbon vehicles’, and to approve an additional carbon capture and storage demonstration project.
None of this comes cheap (little change out of a billion for a second CCS project?). We hope to build on the key themes in our Budget submission at the TUC’s Green Growth conference on 27 April. But we won’t reach a critical speed down Revolutionary Road without a green budget from a green government, setting us right for the road to Copenhagen.