8 May 2013
The Government’s refusal to switch course on austerity and be honest with the public about the urgency of action on climate change is a ‘devastating abdication of duty by an incompetent administration’, says Green party MP Caroline Lucas today.
Criticising the ‘dishonest complacency’ on the energy and environmental crises in today’s Queen’s Speech, the MP for Brighton Pavilion and former leader of the Green party also attacked Coalition Ministers for burying their heads in the sand over the ‘obvious failure’ of austerity.
Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion, said:
"Rather than singing to the reactionary tune of UKIP on issues like immigration, a competent Government would have urgently set out a coherent vision for economic recovery to help the millions who are struggling against unemployment, rising living costs and savage welfare cuts.
"And in the face of mounting evidence from the World Bank and others about the threat we face from climate change, a competent Government would also have set out plans to protect its citizens from the realities of growing food and water insecurity and extreme weather events.
"The World Bank is telling us that without urgent and radical cuts in emissions, global temperatures will rise by 4°C or more by the end of the century, resulting in ‘devastating’ environmental impacts such as the flooding of coastal cities, declining food production and unprecedented heatwaves.
"If the UK is serious about its commitment to keeping climate change below 2°C, the vast majority of fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground – the Government must now put the security and prosperity of its citizens above the vested interests of the fossil fuel industry by declaring this ‘unburnable carbon’ and rapidly deploying renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.
"With the dishonest complacency on the climate crisis continuing, today’s Speech is yet another huge missed opportunity for our flailing economy and millions of jobs in new green industries that would be created if the UK were to take its place at the forefront of the green industrial revolution."
Speaking about the Coalition’s economic policy, Caroline said:
"Despite the bogus idea being peddled by Ministers that immigrants can somehow just get off a plane from Eastern Europe and go straight to pick up their benefits, the most important issue here is not EU immigrants – it’s the damning failure of this Government’s austerity policies to get our finances in order and improve people’s lives.
"The signs of this failure are impossible to ignore: the IMF and OECD have revised down UK growth forecasts, unemployment - especially amongst young people - continues to rise and consumer confidence continues to fall.
"With the number of homeless families in bed and breakfasts rising by nearly half between 2011 and 2012 and a million children now living in overcrowded conditions, the Government’s ‘strivers versus shirkers’ rhetoric has been nothing short of a brutal attack on the poor.
"If we want to live in a society which protects the most vulnerable, we must end austerity and cuts to welfare and reduce the deficit through an economic programme that invests in jobs, especially in labour intensive green sectors to help address the climate crisis, and fairer taxation, including robust measures to tackle tax evasion and avoidance.
"The Green vision for the UK is a fair and sustainable one – where all workers earn a Living Wage, banks are encouraged to lend to small businesses, payday and other loan companies are strictly regulated while facilitating the growth of alternatives such as credit unions and mutuals, and our railways are brought back into public ownership to bring down the rising cost of travel."