Chopper's Politics: Style over substance for the green agenda in the autumn Budget?

·2-min read
This week's Chopper's Politics podcast is a Budget special
This week's Chopper's Politics podcast is a Budget special

As COP26 approaches, it would have been easy to presume that Chancellor Rishi Sunak would use this week's Budget announcements to add fuel (carbon neutral fuel, naturally) to the government's environmental fire. But that isn't the case, according to Telegraph columnist Juliet Samuel.

Speaking to Deputy Political Editor Lucy Fisher and Whitehall Editor Harry York on The Telegraph's weekly political podcast, which you can listen to using the audio player above, she says,"It's a complete contradiction in terms of the government's policy on what it says it wants to do on net zero and then what it's actually doing.

"They've slashed Air Passenger Duty, but not just slashed it, they've also changed the composition of it so that short-haul flights are less severely taxed and long-haul flights are more severely taxed.

"When in fact, it's short haul flights that are much less efficient in terms of fuel use and pollution, and which contribute by far the greatest to carbon emissions."

Despite Mr Sunak seemingly splashing the cash in terms of a real-time rise for government departments, Juliet Samuel also notes that the money won't go very far in a radical energy overhaul.

"Capital spending, although fairly high by historic standards, so it's going to go up to, I think, an average of 2.7 percent of GDP under the cap that the government sets of three percent.

"Given what the government has said it wants to do, which is transform the entire economy to be based on electric low carbon fuel, it's not planning to actually spend very much money to get towards that in historic terms.

"So if we're going to see electric charging stations everywhere, new nuclear power plants. Where the hell is all that going to come from? And so we've had a lot of rhetoric and really not much substance that goes in the same direction."

Juliet Samuels joined the Telegraph's Lucy Fisher and Harry Yorke for a Budget special of Chopper's Politics, The Telegraph's weekly political podcast. Listen to the full discussion using the audio player at the top of this article or on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or your favourite podcast app.

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