The government’s response to the climate crisis is to spend a little spare cash on cycling and walking and to set up a working party

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This written answer has just been published by the House of Commons:

Asked by Caroline Lucas

(Brighton, Pavilion)

Asked on: 20 May 2020

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Economic Situation: Coronavirus


To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which (a) Departmental and (b) cross-Departmental initiatives are ensuring that the Government’s economic response to the covid-19 outbreak contributes to the achievement of the UK's climate and environmental goals; and if he will make a statement.


Answered by: Kwasi Kwarteng

Answered on: 08 June 2020

As we recover from COVID-19, the Government intends to deliver a UK economy which is stronger, greener, more sustainable and more resilient.

The UK was the first major economy to legislate for net zero emissions by 2050 while showing that growing our economy and cutting emissions can be achieved in parallel - growing our economy by 75% while cutting emissions by 43% over the past three decades. The UK has over 460,000 jobs in low carbon businesses and their supply chains, and many of the actions we need to take to reach our net zero target will support the future growth of our economy.

Already we have announced that onshore wind and solar projects can bid for contracts in the next Contracts for Difference allocation round and a £2 billion package for cycling and walking. On 8 June, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced a Green Recovery working group, one of five new ‘recovery roundtables’ bringing together businesses, business representative groups and leading academics, to unleash Britain’s growth potential and help the economy recover from the pandemic. This group will explore how to capture the economic growth opportunities from the shift to net zero emissions.

That's it? Seriously? Having had time to think about he can mention £2 billion of walking and cycling, which to put it in context is £30 each, so can I have a new lead for the dog and a pair of bicycle clips, please?

I also note the new round table has no trade union representatives, and no one from civil society where the demand for a Green New Deal began. So that's really going to win support and represent all interests.

As responses go this is wholly inadequate.

And as indication of that, net-zero and growth are mentioned in the same sentence.

I despair.

Hat tip: David Lowry