“What Sunak completely fails to grasp is that the concerns about the cost of living, economy, health, housing and climate are linked.”
By Paul Atkin, Greener Jobs Alliance
Rishi Sunak is wrong. His five priorities are not the same as those of the public – which, according to the Office for National Statistics, are the cost of living (92%) and the state of the economy (77%), the health service (80%), Climate Change and the Environment (63%) and housing (50%).
So, climate change is now permanently a major concern, while, despite strenuous attempts by government and media to play dog whistles on trombones, immigration is right down at number 8.
What Sunak completely fails to grasp is that the concerns about the cost of living, economy, health, housing and climate are linked. According to Edie, UK homes are paying, on average, £1,750 more for energy and fuel annually than they would have if the Government had brought forward effective national campaigns on insulation, low-carbon heating and transport and domestic renewables.
The beneficial impact of insulation for health was noted by the BMJ as long ago as 2007. “Insulating existing houses led to a significantly warmer, drier indoor environment and… improved self rated health, self reported wheezing, days off school and work, and visits to general practitioners as well as a trend for fewer hospital admissions for respiratory conditions.”
And, as Sir Michael Marmot noted in a report for FOE in 2011, “Living in a cold home can make you sick. ..older people are particularly vulnerable, with cold houses putting them more at risk of heart and lung disease as well as worsening conditions like arthritis and rheumatism. But… children and young people also suffer.
Cold, poorly heated homes affect babies’ weight gain and increase the frequency and severity of asthmatic symptoms in children. Teenagers who live in cold houses are five times more likely to risk developing multiple mental health problems than adolescents who have always lived in warm homes.”
Sunak is still trying to govern as if he were in the Holocene and lives in the same cloud of denial as all those Conservative MPs who firmly believe that their voters oppose the development of onshore wind, when they actually support it.
Investing in green transition generates revenue as well as being imperative for survival. Debt can be cut through investment that benefits the population. Inflation can be cut by reducing the price of travel on public transport and putting a 100% windfall tax on fossil fuel producers excess profits to keep energy bills low for people and workplaces and pay for the insulation that will keep them that way.
With the prospect of a change of government by 2024 we need to nail down the policies we need in the plans and campaigning of opposition parties, so action happens from day 1.
- This article was originally published by the Greener Jobs Alliance January 2023 Newsletter – you can read the newsletter in full here.
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