This Tory government has not delivered with regard to the environment or energy. Air pollution is a problem across the UK. The government has done nothing to retain environmental protections provided by the European Union following Brexit. Energy bills have soared under this government, making just getting by harder for many.
The Tories’ promise to be the greenest government ever has proven to have just been a PR stunt… we are now looking to fall short of our targets for reducing our carbon footprint, while at the same time, the government has cut spending on flood defences. This does not add up.
We need to focus over the next parliament on undoing the damage the Tories have been doing to our economy and to working families, and do so in a way that incorporates positive impacts on the environment. As a matter of urgency, we need to clean up the air in our urban areas.
Almost 40 million people across the United Kingdom live in areas which exceed legal air-quality limits and polluted air is responsible for 40,000 premature deaths each year. This is a particularly serious issue in my constituency of Cities of London and Westminster. Labour is proposing a Clean Air Act to tackle this.
The government has made no guarantee to retain protections for the environment provided by the European Union after Brexit. We are falling behind on our climate change targets. On top of this, the government is cutting spending on flood defences at a time when we need them perhaps more than ever. Taken together, what this means is that we need to be more serious about preventing climate change and mitigating its impacts.
At the same time, our country desperately needs meaningful investment in infrastructure and job creation. Investing in our renewable energy industries would be a way of killing two birds with one stone.
In tangent with this, we need to break the strangle-hold the ‘big six’ energy companies have on the market. Supporting more competition and localised energy production is one step in doing this. Ultimately, we need to drive down consumer-end prices, as many families are struggling to meet their energy needs. The important thing is to make sure we do this while ensuring a commitment to renewable energy.
We need to integrate a concern for the environment into all the policies we are carrying out. Our economy and business environment is in urgent need of support – we can include an environmentally conscious outlook into every step we take to tackle these pressing issues.