Sheffield MP Miriam Cates ‘warmly welcomes’ government U-turn on green commitments
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The Conservative MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge said she warmly welcomed prime minister Rishi Sunak’s decision to “reassess our approach to delivering net zero” by delaying the proposed ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and new gas boilers.
In a statement posted online she said: “We all want to leave a cleaner, greener environment for our children and grandchildren, but it’s not fair for the costs of these changes to be imposed on hard working families – costs that could have been up to £20,000 per household.
“Taking a more practical and democratic approach to net zero gives more time for new technology to become more affordable.
“As the prime minister said, we need to have a proper conversation as a country about how we reduce our emissions and not force changes on people that they can’t afford.”
Speaking to Times Radio yesterday morning, she said: “We can’t bankrupt our own nation and make our own poor poorer in order to reduce emissions a little bit when China is massively expanding its emissions all the time.”
Mr Sunak said it was a “more pragmatic, proportionate and realistic approach” and insisted the UK would still hit net zero by 2050, despite the major shift in green policies.
He said: “I believe in net zero and I want to deliver it.”
It comes as the Tories try to close the gap on Labour ahead of the next general election.
Other Sheffield politicians have fiercely criticised the move.
Councillor Douglas Johnson, leader of Sheffield Green Party, said: “It’s a desperate and dangerous U-turn from the government and will damage the economy too.
“The government should be leading the way by investing in the green economy, not putting the burden onto individuals.”
Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, leader of Sheffield Liberal Democrats, said: “This is putting the UK at the back of the queue as the rest of the world races to embrace the industries of tomorrow.
“Most shocking is the fact many of these measures will not even save people money. Dropping plans to insulate homes and move away from gas boilers will mean higher energy bills for Sheffield residents for years to come.
“The facts on climate change are the same, whether Rishi Sunak accepts them or not. The world is watching what we do.”
Changes to government’s green commitments
Among the key changes announced were:
- A five-year delay in the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars, meaning a requirement for all new cars to be “zero emission” will not come into force until 2035
- A nine-year delay in the ban on new fossil fuel heating for off-gas-grid homes to 2035
- Raising the Boiler Upgrade Grant by 50 per cent from £5,000 to £7,500 to help households who want to replace their gas boilers
- The ban on the sale of new gas boilers in 2035 remains, but the government will introduce new exemption for poorer households
- Scrapping the requirement on landlords to ensure all rental properties had a Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of grade C or higher, from 2025.