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Chair comments on green measures within the Chancellor’s Budget

3 March 2021

Environmental Audit Committee Chairman, Rt Hon Philip Dunne MP, said:

“The economy is on its knees after the pandemic and successive lockdowns, and it is completely right that protecting jobs and livelihoods has been prioritised. I am delighted that the Bank of England remit expands to ensure consistency with the goals of net zero Britain. But the Chancellor has today missed an opportunity to go further: reducing VAT for green sectors including energy efficiency upgrades, and investing more significantly in renewable and low-carbon energy.

“The EAC recommended the Bank of England remit expands to ensure that its policies are consistent with the transition to a net zero economy. I am delighted the Chancellor has today announced that this has been adopted. The Bank must now set out before the COP26 summit the steps it will take to reduce the carbon footprint of its corporate bond portfolio to align with the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement.

“The investment in the UK’s low-carbon clusters is welcome. Our Committee has previously called for investment in offshore wind port infrastructure, and although the £20 million is a positive step forwards, it is a drop in the ocean. The additional investment in a hydrogen hub and for low-carbon energy storage are also good news.

“It is welcome that the National Infrastructure Bank will be charged with helping to deliver net-zero carbon infrastructure, but its mandate must also prioritise investment in measures to restore nature and protect wildlife.

“Only two weeks ago the Environmental Audit Committee warned the Government that time is running out to limit the effects of climate change. Expanding the remit of the Bank of England is a globally significant step in the transition to zero carbon. But despite constraints on the Chancellor’s scope for manoeuvre from the economic consequences of covid-19, as this is the year when the UK hosts COP26 and the eyes of the world are on him, he has missed opportunities in other areas to put his stamp on efforts to grow back greener.”

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