The budget statement by Chancellor Osborne does not address climate change, now a major security threat to our families and communities according to Green Party Councillors.
Cllr Martin Whiteside, Leader of Stroud District Green Councillors, said, “Only months after the Paris agreement on climate change, the government is propping up the oil industry with massive tax cuts that abolish a 30% petroleum revenue tax and cut charges on offshore fields”.
In addition, the fuel duty is frozen for the sixth year in a row, instead of taking advantage of the low price of oil to raise revenues to fix a broken public transport system for commuters and rural residents. Green Party MEP Molly Scott Cato has called for an increase to ring-fence up to £5bn a year to reduce cuts to bus services in rural areas and to invest in sustainable transport solutions.
County Cllr Sarah Lunnon (Stroud Central) commented “another missed opportunity for joined-up government, for example we know that cycling actually reduces health risks associated with obesity, mental illness and air pollution. The chancellor could fund cycling infrastructure projects to stimulate the economy, meet clean air targets, reduce CO2 emissions and reduce our waistlines rather than encouraging more vehicle movements by freezing fuel duty and building more roads.
Councillor Jonathan Edmunds (Randwick, Whiteshill and Ruscombe) applauded the proposed “sugar tax” but questioned if it would work.
“The sugar tax is supposed to benefit children’s sport but the government not so long ago pushed schools to sell off playing fields, and cut local authority funding which led to the closures of community recreational centres and sports programmes. And why will it take over two years to implement when the rise in the tax on tobacco took effect less than twelve hours later?” questioned Cllr. Edmunds.
“A budget that is touted as putting the next generation first, is privatising education by removing all schools from local authorities and converting them to academies,” said Cllr John Marjoram (Trinity). “This takes us right back to the 1944 education act. This proposal completely excludes any democratic control of the future of our education, including syllabus and context of learning. Parents will no longer have mandatory representation on school governing boards, another way to remove local control.”