Swing voters want Tories to invest in green technology to save planet and boost economy
Andrew Grice has been Political Editor of The Independent since 1998. He was previously Political Editor of The Sunday Times, where he worked for 10 years, and he has been a Westminster-based journalist since 1982. His column, Inside Politics, appears in The Independent each Saturday.
Wednesday 05 December 2012
George Osborne's decision to put the economy before "green energy" is opposed by the public, including the voters the Conservatives need to woo in order to win an overall majority in 2015.
A YouGov survey found a majority of people, including possible Tory voters, believe the Government can save both the planet and the economy by investing in green technology. Voters also reject the Chancellor's strategy that the UK should not go further than other countries in creating a low carbon economy.
In his autumn statement today Mr Osborne will confirm that the Government will approve up to 30 new gas-fired power stations in a "dash for gas" that green campaigners fear will undermine investment in renewable energy such as wind farms.
According to YouGov, the Chancellor's judgement may harm Conservative prospects at the next election. Only 29 per cent of the public, and 32 per cent of people who might vote Tory in 2015, believe that "protecting the environment is fine in the good times, but we can't afford it while the economy is struggling". Some 54 per cent of the public, and 53 per cent of possible Tory voters, agree that "we can save the planet and the economy both at the same time by investing in green technologies".
More than half the public (57 per cent) and possible Tory voters (53 per cent) believe the UK should commit to most of its electricity coming from renewable sources by 2030 – a move blocked by the Chancellor – with only 10 per cent in both groups opposing the idea.
Mr Osborne has declared that he will not impose burdens on business so Britain can go further and faster in cutting carbon emissions than its European counterparts. But that is not the preferred approach of the public. Some 47 per cent of people, and 46 per cent of possible Tory voters, believe Britain should lead the world in creating a low carbon economy. Some 39 per cent of people, and 35 per cent of possible Tory voters, think Britain should do no more than other countries.
Andrew Harrop, general secretary of the Labour-affiliated Fabian Society which commissioned the poll jointly with the WWF pressure group, said: "The Coalition began its administration with a pledge to be 'the greenest government ever', but in recent months this has dropped off the radar. Labour has, to date, been quiet about how it would tackle environmental issues in government."
Keith Allott, head of climate change at WWF-UK, said:" The next election will be a fight for swing voters who want Britain to lead the world in creating a low carbon economy. Any party that wants to form the next government should remember this."
- 1 Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
- 2 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 3 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 4 A third of employers never check job applicants' qualifications, survey finds
- 5 James Foley beheading: Fox news presenter Megyn Kelly annoyed by Ferguson update during broadcast about murdered journalist
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...
£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Lea...
£45000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: UNIX Application Support Analyst-...