COP26: Former shadow energy minister claims domestic flights tax reduction ‘cocking a snook’ to Glasgow
Former shadow energy secretary Barry Gardiner criticised Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Budget for its impact on the environment and warned it was “normal” people who would end up paying more.
Speaking to Scotland on Sunday at COP26, the Labour MP also suggested “money” was the key tool in tackling the climate crisis.
He said: “Two things stand out – the reduction on air passenger duty for domestic flights was the equivalent of cocking a snook to Glasgow.
“In practice because domestic flights are subject to an emissions cap, the overall carbon in the atmosphere will not actually increase.
"But by making it easier for people to fly and airlines to be profitable, he was betraying such an astonishing lack of awareness of the problem and what one can only call contempt for the reality of the crisis that it appeared a deliberate provocation to all those about to meet in Glasgow."
Mr Sunak halved the tax on domestic flights, which are already cheaper and more polluting than train journeys.
His Budget saw air passenger duty increased by £4 on “ultra-long” flights of more than 5,550 miles, with the changes a tax giveaway of £30 million a year.
The Brent North MP also criticised the 130 per cent tax tax super-deductions Mr Sunak had hailed as the route to greater productivity.
He explained: “Those super-deductions have no criteria that says you don’t get them if you are engaged in polluting activity.
“They have no fossil-fuel filter. In practice that means that the billions of pounds it will take to develop the Cambo oil field off the Shetland Islands will not be paid for by Siccar Point Energy who discovered it and who hold a 70 per cent stake, or by Shell who own the other 30 per cent.
“It will be paid for by you and me. We, the taxpayer, will not only pay for it, we will pay these two corporations a further 30 per cent subsidy, to thank them for producing 170 million barrels of crude oil all the way to 2050 when the UK is supposed to be net zero.
“That is the equivalent of running 18 coal-fired power stations for an entire year.”
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