Autumn statement must put our planet at its heart

To leave a positive legacy the Chancellor must focus on people and planet.

After a year of climate chaos and record temperatures around the world, today’s autumn statement must put our planet at its heart, say the Scottish Greens.

The party has called for support for households and families being hammered with rising energy bills and funding for a just transition to renewable energy for warmer, greener and more affordable homes that would prevent such hardships. 

The Scottish Greens climate spokesperson, Mark Ruskell MSP said: “With everything from destructive wildfires to terrible floods, this has been a year of climate chaos in Scotland and around the world.

“Yet, while the crisis has got worse we have seen a fossil-fuel obsessed Tory government that is gleefully backtracking on its environmental commitments and dishing out new oil and gas licences.

“This autumn statement must be when that changes. We cannot negotiate with science and cannot keep doubling down on oil and gas and allow extreme weather events to become even more common. For the Tories to keep going as they are would be a huge act of environmental vandalism.

“It’s not helping anyone. With a long cold and expensive winter ahead there are people all over our country being plunged into fuel poverty and forced to go without heating or food while fossil fuel giants celebrate their obscene profits.

“This should not be happening in the 21st century. Locally sourced and affordable renewable energy is the best and cheapest energy available, that is what every government should be prioritising.

“This could be Rishi Sunak’s final autumn statement. How does he want it to be remembered? Will he carry on with business as usual or will he surprise us all by being ambitious, rising to the challenge and leaving a climate legacy to be proud of?

“In Scotland we are leading the change by cutting the cost of public transport with free bus travel for young people, changing our towns and cities with record funding for walking, wheeling and cycling infrastructure and lowering bills by revolutionising the way we heat our buildings.

“These are important steps and we need to go further, but so many of the most important powers and the financial levers to deliver them lie with Downing Street.

“Westminster holds the powers that can overhaul our broken energy market, cap costs, support people with skyrocketing energy bills and make the scale of green investment that is so vital to our future.

“With the COP 28 climate conference only days away, this is a time for all governments to set an example and invest in the just transition that is so vital if we are to have any kind of sustainable future.”