Labour has announced that it will “double down” on making the case that tackling the cost of living crisis and the climate crisis can only be done in tandem, despite an intensifying Conservative attack on net zero policies.
Labour is expected to argue that seeking green growth is the way to bring down household bills and secure the future of the UK economy. The party believes that Rishi Sunak’s dramatic U-turns last week on key net zero policies reveals a weakness in his strategy, in a lack of vision for future economic growth and by adding to the cost of living for people on low incomes.
Ed Miliband, who is the shadow secretary of state for energy security and net zero, said that “Rishi Sunak is a man bankrupt of ideas who has shown this week he neither has answers to the cost of living crisis nor the climate crisis. His announcements will put up costs for working people, threaten investment and jobs, and lead to climate delay, loading more costs on to families.”
Some commentators have predicted that Labour would weaken its own stance in response. Miliband made clear the opposite was true.
“We relish the fight ahead on the question of who can really stand up for working people,” he said. “Labour’s plan will cut bills, create jobs, deliver energy security and tackle the climate crisis, while Rishi Sunak will leave Britain stuck in a doom loop of a permanent cost of living crisis and economic stagnation.”
Analysts have also found that the impacts of the Tory reversals of key policies will be felt by people on lower incomes. The scrapping of a proposal to force private landlords to improve the insulation and energy efficiency of their rental properties will cost renters at least £1bn more a year in high heating bills and wasted energy, according to the Social Market Foundation.
According to reports, the delay to the ban on petrol and diesel vehicles also carries a potential cost, as electric vehicles can save their owners thousands of pounds over their lifetimes. Sunak also weakened the proposed ban on new gas boilers from 2035, which will keep people hooked on expensive gas for longer, even as the cost of heat pumps is falling rapidly.
Story was adapted from the Guardian.