Disastrous Spending Review further undermines economy and environment of South West, says Green MEP

Leading South West Green, Molly Scott Cato MEP, has hit out at the large cuts to departmental budgets announced today in the chancellor’s spending review and has heavily condemned the announcement of a new £1bn Shale Wealth Fund.

Responding to the spending review, Molly Scott Cato said:

“For a region that relies so heavily on tourism and has such rich renewable resources, the Chancellor’s decision to support fracking and further add to his attacks on green energy will bring further gloom. The Shale Wealth Fund appears to be a source of bribes to persuade local communities to accept a dangerous and polluting industry which seems to have become the Chancellor’s dirty obsession. If invested instead in renewables we know the South West could become a Western Powerhouse, powered by clean, safe energy owned by local communities across our region.”

The Green MEP also criticised the decision to introduce massive cuts to three departments: DEFRA funding will be cut by 15%, DECC by an even larger 22%, and Transport by a massive 37%. D Scott Cato said:

“These three departments between them have huge responsibility for protecting our environment and reducing our carbon footprint. Yet as David Cameron heads off to Paris for the COP21 climate talks their budgets are being cut to the bone. He should hang his head in shame as he enters the Paris negotiations. The savage cuts mean that public servants will simply be unable to enforce the laws we have to protect our environment or address climate change. Against this backdrop the Chancellor’s admission that he was wrong to try to privatise the forests and his additional £2bn for flood defences seem pretty meaningless.”