“Half-price meals are a half-baked response to the massive challenges we face.”
Speaking for Cornwall Green Party, Tom Scott said:
“The coronavirus pandemic is doing huge damage to jobs and livelihoods in Cornwall, and there’s no doubt that we’re now facing a recession worse than anything since the 1930s.
“But this is also an unprecedented opportunity to rethink the way our whole economy works and to build back better for a more secure and sustainable future. The government’s own Committee on Climate Change has said that Covid-19 should be an historic turning point in tackling the global climate crisis.
“Unfortunately, despite the rhetoric about a ‘green recovery’, Rishi Sunak’s statement shows that the government is failing to take this opportunity.
“Gestures that the Chancellor has made in that direction are little morethan token. The voucher scheme for home insulation, for instance, covers fewer than 3% of homes in England and will have an impact on UK emissions estimated at just 0.14%.
“Other countries are taking a much more radical approach to restructuring their economies. France and Germany have introduced climate recovery roadmaps for all economic sectors and are making state financial support to industry dependent on tough carbon-emission targets.
“We welcome some aspects of the Chancellor’s speech, for instance the cut in VAT – something that the Green Party has long called for. This will certainly help Cornwall’s hospitality sector, which has been particularly hard-hit by the crisis, and we hope it is made permanent.
“The meal vouchers scheme, however, is a headline-catching gimmick that will do little to help bring people back to pubs and restaurants. People will only have the confidence to gather safely again when there is an effective contact tracing system in place, and the government’s cack-handed approach to this means that England is way behind other European countries in getting the virus under control. The result of this failure is that we face a very high likelihood of further lockdowns doing yet more economic damage.
“There was also nothing in this statement to help the very large number of self-employed people who fall through the gaps of current support schemes and are facing dire straits. This is a particularly urgent problem in Cornwall where this group represents a larger than average share of the working population.
“It's also disturbing to see that the stamp duty holiday will apply to those purchasing second homes and buy-to-let properties - something that is likely to worsen Cornwall's already dire shortage of affordable housing.
“The statement as a whole shows a woeful lack of ambition. The government’s main aim appears to be to set the UK economy back on the same path as before, as if we were not facing a climate emergencythat dwarfs the coronavirus in terms of the damage that it will do if not tackled effectively.
“It’s sad to see that Rishi Sunak’s statement was supported by Cornwall’s Conservative MPs, despite it doing so little to address either the climate crisis or the specific issues facing people here in Cornwall.”
- Committee on Climate Change: ‘COVID-19 can be an historic turning point in tackling the global climate crisis’