Treasury in defensive mode over environment

Posted on 6th March, 2017

The Treasury has dismissed accusations from a Parliamentary committee that it has ‘run roughshod’ over Defra’s environmental policy objectives.

Instead, the Treasury has reasoned that ‘trade-offs’ in departmental expenditure have been necessary.  The comments came in a formal response to criticisms from the Environmental Audit Committee which is chaired by Labour’s Mary Creagh.

And, the Treasury also insists it is helping the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs to meet the government’s recycling targets while setting Landfill Tax rates for the next three years.

The cross-party group of MPs, which holds government to account on environmental issues, had called on the Treasury to set out its future plans for Landfill Tax and accused it of not working with Defra to find ways of boosting recycling.  However, in its response the Treasury argues its central role requires trade-offs in the allocation of spending between government departments – and had allocated “billions of pounds” to the government’s environmental and climate objectives in its 2015 Spending Review.

She said: “In the Treasury’s response it is not clear whether it has considered our recommendations or whether it will do anything different as a result. This is deeply disappointing given that our report found the Treasury’s performance is far from outstanding.”  “The Chancellor must try harder in next week’s Budget to show he is taking action to secure sustainable economic growth which stimulates new, innovative environmental industries and jobs.”

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