I shall not anticipate a green budget

On 22nd April the Government of the United Kingdom will announce their budget for the forthcoming year. This is when the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr Darling, will announce how much money the Government will expect to receive from taxation, and how much money it expects to spend.

Once, budgets were annual events and usually occurred earlier in the year, in March. Now there is an autumn financial statement, which is a budget by any other name. Once any questions about the forthcoming budget was usually met by a time hallowed formula “I cannot anticipate what will be in the budget” meaning that you have to wait for the budget to know what is in it. Today the tendency is to leak budget proposals, as a kind of governmental equivalent of running up a flag to see if anyone will salute it.

Part of that running up a flag exercise has been done by the British Minister. (By the way, Mr Obama and the BBC website, that is his job description, not his title – it is ungrammatical to call him “Prime Minister Brown” – simple “Mr Brown” or “the Prime Minister will be correct, but here I digress.

Mr Brown has been talking to a national newspaper about the budget. He avoided the time hallowed phrase about anticipation and talked about a “green” budget” with measures such as incentives for electric cars, bids for “green cities and a green new deal. The Conservative opposition accuse him of stealing their policies, which they don’t mind too much if he actually implements them. I do know that the first political party to use the phrase “Green New Deal” was the Green Party, who launched this policy from my office last November. However, it really doesn’t matter, as Mr Cameron has pointed out, who thought of a good idea, provided that the good idea is acted upon.

Mr Brown’s choice of policies seems to me curious. Electric cars are all very good, but they will not do much to save the planet – certainly not as much as less glamorous technology that already works can do – like solar panels. I do not understand why they need to trial electric cars – we have had plenty of trials of them and we know what they can do and their limitations.

I find the announcement that cities should “bid” for the status of green cities. Why a bidding process? This is tanatmount to being a green city an optional status symbol, like hosting the Olympic Games or becoming a European City of Culture. I really think that proposal reveals just how little Mr Brown and his Government really understand about the challenge of climate change and the measures that are need to fight it.

The other problem that I foresee about a Green” budget from Mr Darling is that Mr Darling has form on green issues from his time as Secretary of State at the Department of Trade and Industry. His time there was not distinguished by an “green” proposals except for a fairly half baked microgeneration renewables incentive scheme, which even after its defects were pointed out to him, was left unchanged.

In fact, it was worse than that. In January 2003 the clear Skies scheme was announced by the Government which would take effect in June 2003. The six month time lag created two things. The first was a great deal of green political capital for the government and the second was a virtual freezing fo microgeneration sales from January to June which has taken the solar thermal sales (among others) many years and a great deal of money to recover from.

There are other examples of the government’s lack of commitment to “green” policies. The electorate are now suspicious that a “green” budget will be stealth taxation by another name.

Mr Brown apparently told the press “It is not just what we do to give real help to people and business now, but about setting a path for the future as well.  We always take into account both what we need to do now and what is the best future for the fiscal position.”

Those words do not convey much meaning, but they certainly show that the Government’s priority is the fiscal (or tax collection” objective which over rides the climate change requirements. Mr brown, you will recall, responded to very high oil prices by calling for more oil to come onto the market to ensure that oil burning could operate at lower prices.

So ultimately I do not know what the British Government has promised in so far as the environmental measures to be taken by the United Kingdom in the forthcoming budget. I shall not “anticipate the budget”; I expect the present measures which are insufficient to safeguard our children’s future or to secure our future energy supplies, will continue in a marginally enhanced form, and so I shall not be holding my breath in anticipation. I hope that I am wrong.

11 Responses

  1. […] Robert Kyriakides’s Weblog put an intriguing blog post on I shall not anticipate a green budgetHere’s a quick excerptOn 22 nd April the Government of the United Kingdom will announce their budget for the forthcoming year. This is when the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr Darling, will announce how much money the Government will expect to receive from taxation, and how much money it expects to spend. Once, budgets were annual events and usually occurred earlier in the year, in March. Now there is an autumn financial statement, which is a budget by any other name. Once any questions about the forthcoming […]

  2. […] Here is the original: I shall not anticipate a green budget […]

  3. […] Robert Kyriakides’s Weblog created an interesting post today on I shall not anticipate a green budgetHere’s a short outlineOn 22 nd April the Government of the United Kingdom will announce their budget for the forthcoming year. This is when the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr Darling, will announce how much money the Government will expect to receive from taxation, and how much money it expects to spend. Once, budgets were annual events and usually occurred earlier in the year, in March. Now there is an autumn financial statement, which is a budget by any other name. Once any questions about the forthcoming […]

  4. Robert, Maybe you are being pessimistic !

    The government certainly is already spending money to prepare for Global warming by sending firemen to Greece to learn about how to tackle bush fires that we will suffer here in the UK as the temperatures rise :

    https://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/69331/Anger-as-firemen-train-for-bushland-blazes-in-Greece

    What do you think Robert ? I think it sounds ike a £473 Lads holiday to Greece ! They are even painfully trying to deny it ! ;

    “…A [Fire Service] management source said: ” They stayed in basic accommodation, there was an alcohol ban and a midnight curfew. It was not a holiday “…”

    I wonder who was enforcing this alcohol ban and curfew, maybe the Greek Police were keeping an eye on them to ensure that they were tucked up in bed early and didn’t get drunk ? !!!!

  5. … also the government have been working really hard spending money [ from last years “Green Budget” ] to tackle the climate change, for example during 2008-2009:

    The environmental audit committee Trip to San Francisco and Washington “to research international carbon trading” (Cost : £46,928) .

    The Energy and Climate Change Commitee have been on [a holiday] trip to Germany and Denmark to make an enquiry an=bout “The Green Economy and Low Carbon Technologies” (Cost : £27,654), and

    The Business and Enterprise Comittee traveled to Saudi-Arabia and UAE to make enquiry about “exporting out of recession” (Cost : £48,224)

    The home affairs comittee traveled to Ecuador and Peru so that they could make enquiry and research about “The Cocaine Trade” ( Cost £49,332) [ No Comment ! ]

    Meanwhile Jacquie Smith was making a contribution to acomons select comittee study of alternative cooking fuels and got into a lot of trouble for it, she only spent £60 on a barbecue for which she quite legitimately claimed expenses for ! (Cost £60 )

  6. I don’t trust the politicians to tell the truth about taxes. What price democracy? Peter is right

  7. The movie 1984 can be veiwed on Youtube I think it is a parallel to our own Dystopia and the propaganda of New Labour and our ‘Glorious’ wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the heavy hand of the surveillance state, biometric ID cards, anti-terror laws etc etc But very little is done with regards to the environmental damage being done. So I guess I am must then count as a thought criminal,

    I can observe that innocent people live in fear of arrest, I can cite one person [proletariat ?!] being arrested in my own town Swinton, his crime was to accidentaly drop an [a bio-degradable] apple core onto the floor
    ( http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/2234995/Apple-core-case-dropped-at-cost-of-5000.html) wheras the ruling class [bourgeoisie ] seem to be able to do whatever they like however morally questionable without any consequence

    1984 Film online : http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=-5464625623984168940&ei=8lreSdOSKIHc2gKNuYmyBA&q=1984+&hl=en&client=firefox-a

    http://thought-criminal.org/

  8. Robert, Whilst you have been on your Easter Holidays I have been writing longer comments than your actual blog for a few days ! Well its a bit Scary the 1984 Comparisons and George Orwell didn’t kow what the technology would actually be as advanced as it is now, some of the representations about censorship and propaganda are interesting just like the ‘D’ notices. LoL :~)

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