Boris Johnson has been urged to fulfil his manifesto promise to spend £9bn on a huge household insulation programme as his chief adviser tries to shift the spending on to other priorities.
The UK prime minister delighted green groups in November when he committed the Conservative party to “invest £9.2bn in the energy efficiency of homes, schools and hospitals”.
But the policy has been snarled up in a Whitehall turf war after Downing Street chief adviser Dominic Cummings sought to water down the policy.
Three things. First, £9 billion is not huge: it is just a blip in the £100 billion that is required to be spent each year to deliver the Green New Deal, and leaves the vast majority of houses thermally inefficient still.
Second, this is not an 'either/or': both new housing and insulation is required. That there is even a discussion shows that the Treasury mindset is to prevail and we are heading for austerity and even deeper recession that is now already inevitable.
Third, heaven help the supposed plan to tackle the climate crisis if something as modest as this cannot be delivered. We are, quite literally, all doomed.
This is deeply depressing. We need to spend £100 billion a year and they're backtracking on £9 billion over a parliament.
And, I would add, the funding for this work could be readily available.