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Call for green budget

An influential group of businesses, NGOs and MPs have urged the Chancellor to set out a comprehensive green growth strategy in next month’s Budget.

This would help reduce the budget deficit and drive a dynamic economic recovery by increasing output and creating jobs. A new report, to be published next week by the Aldersgate Group, finds that governments around the world are implementing plans to attract global investment in environmental technologies and the UK is losing momentum in this green economy race. Examples of green growth strategies include China’s new Five Year Plan that seeks to underpin a ‘clean revolution’ in its economic development and India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change that is projected to stimulate US$1 trillion of investment over the next decade.

The report warns that the UK economy risks being left behind unless the Government implements urgently a green growth strategy. The strategy must include a strong policy framework to address market failure across the economy combined with a concerted push to support those sectors that have competitive advantages. This must extend beyond traditional environmental industries to sectors such as automotive and construction and will be vital to deliver the Prime Minister’s vision for ‘economic dynamism’. Failure to act will mean investment flowing to more attractive markets, leaving the UK at a disadvantage for years to come. This coincides with a comprehensive study by the United Nations, published recently, that analyses how a global investment of 2% of GDP in the green economy could unleash economic growth and positive social outcomes, while keeping humanity’s planetary footprint within sustainable boundaries.

Peter Young, Chairman of the Aldersgate Group, said: “The Chancellor has promised a ‘budget for growth’ but we believe this must be a ‘budget for green growth’. The UK needs an explicit strategy to take advantage of the global shift to a green economy; driving jobs and exports. Cuts alone will not deliver a competitive economy. “The comprehensive green economy report by the United Nations debunks any myth that we must choose between greening or growing. We can and must do both. The most successful and progressive businesses are already showing the way and no one can afford to be left behind.” Aldersgate Group members are: ACCA, AXA Investment Managers, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Biffa, BT, CIWEM, eftec, the Environmental Industries Commission, Knowledge Transfer Network, Friends of the Earth, Green Alliance, Herbert Smith, the Institution of Civil Engineers, IEEP, IEMA, IPPR, Jaguar Land Rover, Johnson Matthey, L&Q, Microsoft, MITIE, National Grid, Ownergy, PepsiCo UK and Ireland, Reed Elsevier, RSPB, SKM Enviros, Smartest Energy, Speechly Bircham, Sustain, The Co-operative, TUC, UK CEED, UK GBC, Veolia Environmental Services, Willmott Dixon Group, Woodland Trust, WWF and WYG. Individual Aldersgate Group members include Andrew George MP, Barry Sheerman MP, Caroline Lucas MP, Ian Liddell-Grainger MP, Martin Horwood MP, Michael Meacher MP and Tim Yeo MP.