9 March 2021
What is Talking Point?
Cambridge News asks a representative of each local political party to answer a question on a local issue in just 300 words. The answers are then published in the physical copy of the Cambridge News every week. Here, we share our response to the question.
Today's Question: What is your reaction to this year’s budget speech and what impact will the policies outlined have on local councils?
Does Rishi Sunak not get it? If we have learned anything from the grim experience of the pandemic it is that we can come together in the face of a challenge and that change is possible. We can do things differently and we urgently need to do so. We simply cannot afford the return to business as usual that Sunak’s budget represents. The Chancellor’s speech is a catalogue of missed opportunities and a massive failure of imagination.
We all know that we need to make huge strides in reducing the amount of CO2 the UK emits. Why then is the Chancellor talking about tinkering with the rate of Corporation Tax rather than taxing companies according to how much they pollute, as the Greens have been calling for years?
The Chancellor’s lack of vision is obvious in the measures to promote a green recovery. He is barely paying lip service. £12 billion for a new infrastructure bank is paltry beside $2 trillion plan unveiled by President Biden and the £36 billion announced by Germany. At the last election the Green Party was calling for £100 billion per year as a minimum to be spent on fighting the Climate Emergency.
Announcing tax rises to ‘pay for’ the emergency measures to fight COVID is also disingenuous. Even with massive COVID spending the deficit is not at dangerous levels. Talk of balancing the budget in times of emergency is just playing to the right wing gallery, and, more worryingly, acts a cloak for the Tories’ not so covert hollowing out of public services – austerity round 2, when we desperately need spending on the NHS, public transport, local government and a genuinely green recovery.
Our response was written Jeremy Caddick. Jeremy was the MP Candidate for Cambridge in the 2019 General Election. He has lived in Cambridge for more than 25 years and is the Dean and Chaplain at one of the Colleges in Cambridge University. He campaigns for the University to cut its links with fossil fuel companies.