The UK Government’s Budget has failed to produce a Green New Deal for the UK, Alliance MP Stephen Farry has said.
Speaking after Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled the Budget in the House of Commons, the North Down MP said a greater level of public spending should have been released in order to ease the financial pressure on many households, as well as improving public services.
“Despite the spin by the Government, this is a tough Budget for people struggling to make ends meet while facing a spiralling cost of living,” said Dr Farry.
“The changes to universal credit taper will only help some but far from all recipients, and only partially reverses this month’s cut. Within the current fiscal context and through taxes on wealth and some additional borrowing, a greater level of public spending could and should be released to ease the pressure on households and to improve public services.
“This Budget also represents a serious missed opportunity for the UK to embark on a Green New Deal, combining action to address the climate emergency with a new approach to economic opportunity and social protection. The Government is not providing sufficient investment in a green transformation, skills and job creation. With the UK set to host COP26 next week, the Chancellor couldn’t even make one reference to the climate crisis.
“For Northern Ireland, we must await proper analysis of the financial impact of today’s announcement. But with the Executive facing huge pressures on a range of fronts, this sets up a challenging local Budget and further emphasises the need for reform of the costs of managing a divided society to improve public services and drive economic prosperity.
“It is noteworthy the levelling up agenda sees the new Shared Prosperity Fund centralising the spending power the Executive previously had through EU Structural Funds. This power grab undermines the Executive’s ability to target such resources directly to support locally-determined objectives.”