The Green Book: New directions for Liberals in government

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In January, a group of progressive Conservative MPs called the Group urged the Tories to make green growth and resource efficiency a focus ENDS Report , p 46 , while Labour has initiated several policy reviews.

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A waste and resources strategy is imminent see pp But the most advanced party is the Liberal Democrats. In March, leading MPs, party insiders and influential commentators published The Green Book: New directions for Liberals in Government , a chapter, page book urging the party to adopt policies focusing on green jobs.

Providing a New Direction for Middle Class Jobs and Growth | Liberal Party of Canada

Most chapters follow that line. There was no shortage of suggestions. Next year, there will be a review of the fourth carbon budget, which sets the amount of carbon the UKcan release in Tom Burke, director of consultancy E3G, said the issue of hydraulic fracturing of rocks for shale gas — fracking — could also be a good battleground due to fears it will industrialise the countryside and have no impact on gas prices.

Some may be sceptical about whether Lib Dem MPs are willing to fight those battles, but their victory in theEastleighby-election has boosted confidence. Similarly, it appears to have led many Tories to believe they need to differentiate themselves more from the Lib Dems, with the environment the obvious area to use. Most — such as strengthening energy efficiency programmes — are extensions of existing policy. For example, several chapters say regulations should be changed to enable councils and community groups to invest more in renewables and sell electricity from such projects.

They should be able to approach the bank directly to fund schemes. Others say the bank should be made to finance clean technology start-ups as well as energy efficiency. Government will need to provide it with more capital, it will need to be allowed to borrow and it will need its remit expanded to finance high-risk projects.

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The Treasury has prevented the bank from borrowing until public sector debt is falling as a percentage of GDP. A chapter by sustainable investment expert Christopher Wigley says the bank can raise money itself by issuing bonds based on its investments.

Providing a New Direction for Middle Class Jobs and Growth

The government could also enable the public to provide funds by establishing green cash ISAs. But it could be difficult for the bank to finance high-risk projects such as cleantech start-ups or carbon capture and storage CCS. Another notable feature of the book is its focus on taxation to achieve green goals — a topic many politicians normally go out of their way to avoid.

Stephen Williams, MP for Bristol West, calls for a single carbon tax to replace a myriad of schemes such as the carbon price floor, CRC and renewable energy subsidies. This would be revenue neutral and be set out in a way that provides long-term visibility to industry.

The Green Book reviewed: a new direction for Liberals in government?

Energy-intensive businesses would sign agreements with government setting out how they will decarbonise in return for a tax exemption. But another proposal, to convert the landfill tax into a waste hierarchy tax to boost recycling, would not go down well with many, especially councils who have invested in plants and firms who say they have no alternative. Adam Baddeley of consultancy Eunomia says it would be difficult for theUKto tax raw materials aside from the existing aggregates levy. Chair of the Liberal Democrat policy working group on the transition to a zero carbon Britain Neil Stockley said: "For too long, we've put 'the economy' and 'the environment' in separate silos.

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The 'green growth' policies described in this book offer the best opportunity for the UK to escape from recession and to build future growth, jobs and prosperity. The leading businesses I work with are demanding more from politicians and this book offers a public policy blueprint for a sustainable future markedly more radical than any party. Subscribe to updates Subscribe below to recieve updates direct to your inbox - or - Continue to content.

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