A roundup of responses from some of our members to the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s 2018 Budget.
Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) response:
CPRE expressed disappointment at the Government’s support for large new road-building projects, with billions of pounds of funding allocated for new roads in the Thames Estuary and the Oxford-Cambridge Arc. This scale of expenditure stands in stark contrast to the limited investment for environmental improvements announced in the Budget. The world’s leading climate change experts recently estimated that we only have 12 years to limit the worst effects of climate change, but the Government is continuing to favour grey infrastructure over green investment.
Tom Fyans, director of campaigns and policy at the Campaign to Protect Rural England said: "The disparity in investment between grey and green infrastructure contradicts the prime minister’s environmental ambitions, and the urgent need to tackle climate change. The latest IPCC report says we have just 12 years left to limit warming to 1.5ºC – but by continuing to accelerate road-building, the Government is acting as if we have 120.
"Rather than spending tens of billions on new road schemes, investment that completely undermines the nominal amount pledged for environmental measures such as tree planting, we need a comprehensive package of measures to tackle climate change and protect our treasured countryside and local communities.”
Friends of the Earth response:
Friends of the Earth plastic campaigner Julian Kirby said: “It’s astonishing that the Chancellor has gone cold on a ‘latte levy’, just when we needed him to turn up the heat on plastic polluters. A tax on virgin plastic packaging would be a welcome step – but if we’re going to stem the huge tide of plastic waste pouring into UK waterways every year, far bolder action is needed.”
Liz Hutchins, director of campaigns at Friends of the Earth, added: “World scientists warn we are hurtling towards runaway climate chaos, yet the Chancellor has kept oil and gas tax breaks, boosted road-building and frozen fuel duty. Astonishing.”
GMB (Britain’s General Union) response:
I don't know how the Government have the cheek to say austerity is over then deliver this budget with a straight face says GMB Union. GMB, Britain’s general union, has branded Chancellor Philip Hammond’s budget ‘more trick than treat’ after Amazon were given a free pass until 2020 at least and school children were handed a pittance.
The British public overwhelmingly support measures to end austerity as exclusive polling by Survation for GMB revealed this weekend.
UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “Austerity isn’t over just because the Prime Minister and the Chancellor say it is. Years of spending cuts have meant real pain for millions, with very little gain. Public services are running on empty, and councils are still axing thousands of jobs.
“Years of wrecking ball austerity have left local services in a perilous state. It will take time and substantial investment for them to recover. Councils need an end to this nightmare created on Downing Street. An extra bit of money for social care is just the start. Much more is needed and quickly if we are to hold onto the very fabric of our communities.”
General secretary Len McCluskey said: “Austerity is not over. Despite the chancellor’s desperate efforts at make believe, back in the real world there is still the horror to come of billions of pounds slashed from public spending.
“On Universal Credit, right across the country people are living in absolute terror of what is coming their way. Weeks without money, the threat of eviction, a reliance on foodbanks. This is simply not good enough for the sixth largest economy on the planet. Mr Hammond could have used today to allay their very real fears and save families and their children from certain poverty. He did not, and what he proposed did not go far enough. On that basis we back the call for MPs to vote down this budget.
“We need a government that will actually invest in decent homes, jobs, wages and public services, one that can create a hopeful vision for the UK after Brexit and where the chronic under-funding of our schools, hospitals and police will cease."
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