Post date: Friday, 6th July 2012

CBI to government: green means growth

 
John Cridland, CBI

The CBI's John Cridland told the government "everyone needs to go green".

The CBI has given its clearest message yet to the government to get on with backing the low carbon revolution.

Launching one of its most comprehensive reports on the subject yesterday in London, its director, John Cridland, said the CBI's analysis suggests that green business may have accounted for over a third of all UK growth in 2011/12.

"The UK has made a great start tapping into green economic opportunities, but mixed signals from the government are setting the UK back," he said. "If we can’t be sure that the policies of today will still be the policies of tomorrow, we simply won't build business and consumer confidence or secure the investment we need."

The UK grew its share of the £3.3 trillion global green market by 2.3% in real terms in 2010/11, reaching £122bn and accounting for around 8% of GDP, he said, adding that there was no "false choice" between going green and pursuing growth.

"The UK could be a global front-runner in the shift to low-carbon. In the search for growth, we’re digging for goldmines – and one of them is green," he said. "Get our energy and climate change policies right, and we can add £20bn extra to our economy and knock £0.8bn off the trade gap, all within the lifetime of this Parliament," he told business leaders.

"We must cut green tape and pay attention to competitiveness. There is no need to create losers in the low-carbon transition, but at the moment we are endangering our energy-intensive businesses. If we don't take a smarter policy approach, not only will we miss out on growth opportunities, we could also undermine the very industries that should be at the heart of our low-carbon economy."

"The government also needs to be consistent with its actions and this is where I think the green story begins to break down."

Since taking office two years ago, the government has backtracked on many green commitments, including giving beneficial tax changes for the North Sea oil and gas industry, "rejigging" of solar panel subsidies, and delays and uncertainties on finance.

The CBI is calling for the Green Investment Bank to have the power to raise funds from the capital markets as soon as possible, and for a long-term plan to decarbonise the energy intensive industries. The business body wants to see the Carbon Reduction Commitment scrapped immediately and all the stops pulled out to ensure that the Green Deal is a success.

Perhaps most importantly, business leaders completely back the ambition of the 4th Carbon Budget and calls for electricity market reform to create "a smart policy framework which follows the recommendations of this report", matched with "consistent messaging from all parts of government".

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