Greater resilience and benefits for the UK economy could be achieved through a green Budget, that considers that the natural environment and responds to global challenges, according to environmental group WWF UK.
Chancellor George Osborne will deliver his final Budget before the General Election on 18 March. In a new report, WWF sets out policy recommendations that it states would “help to shift the UK to a sustainable, resource efficient, low-carbon economy”. The organisation argues that the current Budget processes fail to adequately address challenges in environmental degradation, resource scarcity and climate change.
The report argues that the measures are “win-win” for both the environment and economy. For example, it argues that improving the UK’s resource efficiency could generate half a million new jobs over the next 15 years.
Chief executive of WWF UK, David Nussbaum said, “The UK is missing out on opportunities; WWF’s report shows that we can improve the resilience of our economy, build new markets and create many new jobs it we embrace a sustainable approach to our economy.
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“We’re not paying enough attention to the economic risks associated with natural resource scarcity, natural capital depletion, and climate change, or to the opportunities that adapting to these changes can bring.”
Recommendations from the environmental group include promoting the protection and improvement of natural assets, including introducing a ‘stress-test’, and ensuring government expenditure promotes sustainably, for example, by phasing out fossil fuel subsidies.
The report also calls for the Green Investment Bank to be given the power to borrow from the private sector. It adds that this could be used to incentives energy efficiency and low-carbon industry growth.
Nussbaum added, “The Budget can work harder to drive the transition to a sustainable economy – investing in the natural asset base on which the economy and businesses depend, and providing greater stimulus to new and emerging sectors that will be vital engines of clean, hi-tech, sustainable growth in the future.”
Photo: Simon Harrod via Flickr