Autumn Statement misses the mark in growing Britain's future, says Triodos Bank
Investing in a post-carbon economy is critical to securing long-term economic sustainability
23-11-2016 | Just six days after the UK ratified the Paris climate agreement, today’s Autumn Statement failed to significantly address how economic policy and spending will address the UK’s biggest future challenge: climate change. As Europe’s leading sustainable bank, Triodos Bank has seen growing public support and investment into the multi-billion pound green economy. Government investment into low-carbon infrastructure must be a cornerstone of any future-orientated industrial strategy that will build an economy for all generations.
In response to the Autumn Statement, Triodos Bank Managing Director Bevis Watts said:
On green infrastructure:
Bevis Watts said: "The infrastructure spending plans are a missed opportunity to pivot our economy towards more sustainable alternatives. Rather than boosting old, carbon-based sectors and systems, what we really need is a strategy that looks to the future and significantly invests in green infrastructure such as sustainable transport, renewable energy and sustainable food production. If we are going to ‘future-proof’ our economy and meet our obligations to the Paris Agreement, we need to start investing in the sustainable technologies and the systems of the future.
"It is unfortunate that this Autumn Statement continues to prop up a carbon-based economy. Of the £23 billion announced for the National Productivity Investment Fund, none of it was earmarked specifically for green energy, significant public transportation development or supporting the burgeoning green tech sector. Opportunities are readily available to dramatically improve our rail system to efficiently and quickly transport people and goods around the country. Councils need a new deal to make our cities more walkable, breathable and liveable. Our energy system needs a complete overhaul towards clean, local and renewable energy sources. Local food networks need to be revitalised if we are going to reduce our dependence on carbon-heavy distribution systems.
Investing in these ways could provide the economic boost that the UK needs while also having the added bonus of contributing to creating a viable low-carbon UK economy for the long-term."
On housing and energy:
Bevis Watts said: "While the announced investment into housing is much needed, funnelling money into cheap housing construction loans is not enough—we need a proactive strategy that addresses the high cost of purchasing, renting and heating homes in the UK. Given the failure of the Green Deal, we’re calling on the government to redefine housing spending to include boosting the energy efficiency of the UK’s housing stock.
"While simplifying energy tariffs may make switching easier, it does nothing to deal with rampant fuel-poverty due to inefficient homes: the Association for the Conservation of Energy has shown that our windows are the leakiest of 11 northern European countries. Not only does this make monthly bills too expensive for the most vulnerable, buildings in the UK contribute to 17% of our carbon emissions due to fossil fuel use in heating. Our Warmer Homes Greener Communities loan is allowing housing associations to borrow money for specifically the purpose of increasing energy efficiency and thereby reducing energy costs. We need government support for a wide-ranging investment in heating efficiency."
As Europe’s leading sustainable bank, Triodos Bank has seen the growing public support, investment and confidence in the multi-billion pound green economy and believes that despite its resilience, Government backing is essential to fully realise a sustainable future. With €12 billion in assets and 49% of loans and investments in environmental projects, Triodos has over 20 years’ experience of helping to transform Europe’s energy system to one that safeguards our environment and is fairer to the people that depend on it.
Last year, Triodos Bank’s operations across Europe provided finance to generate enough green electricity for one million European homes and produce 33.6 million meals from organically farmed land, in addition to financing 4,500 sustainable homes and apartments.
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About Triodos Bank
Triodos Bank is a global pioneer in sustainable banking using the power of finance to invest in projects that are good for people and the planet. Triodos uses its €12 billion in assets to create social, environmental and cultural value in a transparent and sustainable way.
With UK operations based in Bristol, Triodos Bank has branches in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Germany and an agency in France. Globally, Triodos Bank has microfinance projects in Central Asia and Eastern Europe, and is a founding member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV), a worldwide network of 36 banks seeking to transform finance into a vehicle of positive influence.
Triodos Bank N.V. has a full banking license and is registered with The Nederlandsche Bank N.V. (the Dutch central bank) and The Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets