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Budget 2021 – Friends of the Earth reaction

news release

Reacting to the Chancellor’s Budget today, Friends of the Earth’s head of policy Mike Childs said:

“The Chancellor’s Budget is a drop in the ocean of what’s required to confront the climate emergency. 

“Significant resources have rightly been targeted in fighting the coronavirus crisis, we now need a similar focus and determination to prevent climate chaos, and the huge threats this poses to lives and livelihoods across the globe.

“The small rise in incentives to fund apprenticeships is not enough to create the 250,000 new green apprenticeships needed to tackle life-wrecking youth unemployment and boost the drive to a zero carbon future.

“The government should be spending £40 billion per year in areas such as home insulation, eco-heating, tree planting and peatland restoration. Instead these areas remain starved of cash. 

“Growing the green economy will be the engine of our future well-being and economy – but the Chancellor yet again failed to deliver. “

• Fuel duty freeze 
“It’s astonishing that a government pledging to confront the climate emergency has frozen fuel duty yet again.  No wonder passenger cars’ contribution to the climate crisis has barely fallen in the past decade.
“The sale of gas-guzzling SUVs are a particular concern, as they have helped drive a rise in average emissions from new cars in the last five years. Rishi Sunak should be doing more to discourage the purchase of these polluting vehicles – such as slapping a significant increase in road tax on them.
“It’s time for a green transport revolution, with cleaner cars and better alternatives to driving such as efficient and affordable public transport and safer cycling facilities.”

• Carbon offsetting
“Carbon offsetting is a con and shouldn’t be pursued. We need to restore nature but this should happen in addition to slashing carbon emissions, not instead of it. There is a real danger that a globally focussed, voluntary carbon offsets market will also lead to land grabs overseas and the eviction of indigenous communities.” 

• Infrastructure Bank
“The new Infrastructure Bank and new green savings accounts are welcome, but won’t deliver the scale of change at the speed required.”

• Freeports
“There is nothing inherently green about Freeports despite Rishi Sunak’s promises. Instead there is a real danger that they become low regulation zones where environmental safeguards are thrown aside. The rules and regulations that govern these areas will need to closely monitored or there is a danger that yet again environmental protections will get side lined in the pursuit of economic growth.”


For more information and interview requests contact the Friends of the Earth press office on 020 7566 1649 / 07718 394786 (out of hours – please do not text this number) or by emailing

Notes to editors:

1. Quarter of million green apprenticeships needed to fix youth unemployment crisis

2. About Friends of the Earth: Friends of the Earth is an international community dedicated to the protection of the natural world and the wellbeing of everyone in it. We bring together more than two million people in 75 countries, combining people power all over the world to transform local actions into global impact. For more information visit: follow us at @friends_earth, or like our Facebook page

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