Four Greenpeace climbers have scaled the Treasury building in the heart of Westminster this morning as Chancellor George Osborne is finalising his public spending cuts.
The environmental campaigners are asking the Chancellor to stick to his earlier statements backing a green investment bank, which could potentially provide tens of thousands of new jobs.
The climbers evaded police and scrambled up the Treasury, home to over 1,000 civil servants, at around 6am this morning. They are preparing to unfurl a large banner that says: “Remember George, Green bank = New jobs”.
On Wednesday, the Chancellor will announce how he plans to cut public spending in the Comprehensive Spending Review. Mr. Osborne has said he supports a green investment bank (GIB), and Greenpeace have today released their top ten favourite George Osborne quotes.
Just last year, he said that a green investment bank “will help us deliver the green finance we need for new jobs in every region” and it “can help kick-start our green recovery by providing green companies with the investment they need.” The Chancellor has also said that “if we’re to compete in the technologies of the future, and come out of this recession with a more balanced economy, then Britain needs to play catch up. Our green investment bank will help us do precisely that.”
But to avoid failing and to be effective, the bank, say Greenpeace, should:
- Have the mandate to fund clean energy and energy efficiency projects
- Be established through primary legislation to ensure accountability to the taxpayer - Have the power raise money through the issue of bonds
- Be capitalized with at least £6bn from government
A recent report by Ernst and Young said that without a GIB, the UK’s low-carbon competitive advantage could be lost. And HSBC have said that Wednesday’s announcement by the Chancellor is the government’s first test of its green credentials.
Emma Gibson, a Greenpeace campaigner and mother of three, is currently on the Treasury building. She said:
“We’ve scaled the Treasury building today to tell George Osborne that serious investment in a new green bank will safeguard tens of thousands of planned jobs.
“But the green bank must have the funds and remit make a difference. Anything less would create little more than a poorly funded quango.
“George has said that he wants the Treasury to finance a green recovery, and provide new jobs. Backing down on this now and cutting green budgets would severely dent this government’s claims to be the greenest ever – and also damage the chance for Britain to be world leader in cutting edge low-carbon technologies."
The Greenpeace campaigners are planning to support today’s TUC rally to defend jobs against cuts in the Spending Review.
Greenpeace press office: 020 7865 8255, 07717 704577 and 07792 256836.
George Osborne’s Top 10 Green Quotes
1. “Our commitment to the environment is as strong as ever.”
2. “The Treasury has often been at best indifferent [on the environment], and at worst obstructive…All this has got to change.”
3. “Instead of the Treasury blocking green reform, I want a Conservative Treasury to lead the development of the low carbon economy and finance a green recovery.”
4. “A Conservative Treasury will drive green growth…by financing a green recovery.”
5. “A Green Investment Bank can help kick-start our green recovery by providing green companies with the investment they need.”
6. “This [a Green Investment Bank] will help us deliver the green finance we need for new jobs in every region of the country.”
7. “Under a Conservative government, the Treasury will no longer be the cuckoo in the Whitehall nest when it comes to climate change.”
8. “If I become Chancellor, the Treasury will become a green ally, not a foe.”
9. “I see in this green recovery not just the fight against climate change, but the fight for jobs, the fight for new industry.”
10. “If we’re to compete in the technologies of the future, and come out of this recession with a more balanced economy, then Britain needs to play catch up. Our Green Investment Bank will help us do precisely that.”
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