Autumn Statement

UK Chancellor’s 2014 autumn statement angers environmentalists

George Osborne. Photo credit CBI via Flickr.
By Anders Lorenzen

In December 2014, the UK Chancellor George Osborne declared in his annual autumn statement further support for the suffering North Sea oil and gas sector. The statement angered environmentalists and the clean energy industry alike as it was essentially discrediting green growth.

In his statement, Osborne said the dropping oil price was good news for consumers but presented a risk for the future of the North Sea oil and gas industry, whom he promised further tax breaks. This move angered environmental groups Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth.

He made no mention of the surge of investments in renewables and instead focused on the potential of the shale gas industry, which has so far failed to take off, largely fuelled by local communities’ strong opposition to it.

And despite the enormous social and economic impact of last year’s springtime storms and flooding, there was no mention of climate change mitigation and adaptation; a surprising omission considering that only a few days previously, the UK government had announced a commitment of £2.3 bn spending on flood defenses between now and 2021.

Environmentalists are increasingly frustrated that Osborne keeps ignoring a thriving green economy whilst helping out the struggling oil and gas industry with further tax breaks.

Related news:

UK: David Cameron launches aggressive attack on onshore wind

Opinion: Cameron and Salmond: it’s time to wave goodbye to UK’s North Sea oil and gas reserves

Opinion: David Cameron and shale gas

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