Green councillors comment on the Autumn Statement

23 November 2016

Simon Heap and Steven NevilleChancellor Philip Hammond had the opportunity in the Autumn Statement to close the lid on the coffin of austerity and breathe new life in to our ailing economy.

He had the chance to invest in the many social needs in Epping Forest and across the country, and start the green transition that climate change demands. That opportunity was spectacularly missed. Rather than spell out a vision for a positive future for Britain after Brexit, Hammond has merely outlined Conservatives’ intention to take us further down the well-worn path to further failure.

The Chancellor today refused to change course from the destructive austerity policies of the previous Chancellor, which have made inequality dramatically worse and removed social safety nets. We could save billions by scrapping plans to cut corporate tax and raise the threshold for the highest earners – and we could plough that money into our ailing NHS. But the Government has continued to protect the interests of the best off over the many.

Tackling catastrophic climate change is the greatest challenge of our times and it is shameful that the Chancellor failed to even mention climate change in his speech. A serious response to the situation we’re in could have included a nationwide insulation scheme to keep people warm in their homes, cut bills and create jobs in every community. Yet what we have is more of the same – a backwards looking budget that fails to wage war on poverty and fails to grasp the realities of an uncertain world and the limited resources in it.

From Cllrs Steven Neville and Simon Heap, Epping Forest Green Party