20 September 2023

Sunak accused of claiming to have ‘scrapped’ measures that ‘were not policy’

20 September 2023

Rishi Sunak has been accused of claiming to have “scrapped” measures such as taxes on meats and flying that were never Government policy.

Conservative former Cabinet minister Sir Simon Clarke criticised the Prime Minister for putting up “a lot of straw men” as he weakened environmental policies.

In a speech in Downing Street, Mr Sunak said he will be easing a series of green policies while setting out a “new approach” designed to protect “hard-pressed British families” from “unacceptable costs”.

He confirmed the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 will be pushed back to 2035 and changes to the Government’s plan to phase out new boilers.

But the PM also claimed to have scrapped a series of “heavy-handed measures”, such as a tax on meat and flying, compulsory car-sharing and forcing people to recycle in seven different bins.

“The debate about how we get to net zero has thrown up a range of worrying proposals and today I want to confirm that, under this Government, they’ll never happen,” he said.

“The proposal for Government to interfere in how many passengers you can have in your car. I’ve scrapped it.

“The proposal that we should force you to have seven different bins in your home. I’ve scrapped it.

“The proposal to make you change your diet – and harm British farmers – by taxing meat, or to create new taxes to discourage flying or going on holiday. I’ve scrapped those too.”

He added: “We will never impose these unnecessary and heavy-handed measures on you, the British people, but we will still meet our international commitments and hit net zero by 2050.”

Mr Clarke backed some of the new measures, including more support for boiler upgrades.

“But a lot of straw men have been offered up which simply weren’t policy,” he said.

“Nobody serious in politics was talking about banning flying, taxing meat etc.”

Taxes on meat and dairy or on flying are not Government or Labour Party policy.

In a press release, the Conservative Party said they were recommendations from the Climate Change Committee, an independent non-departmental public body, formed under the Climate Change Act to advise the UK on tackling and preparing for climate change.

In relation to recycling, the Government had planned to unveil a new strategy in March that would have required households to separate seven types of waste into different containers, but the plans were delayed until after local elections amid concern over a backlash from voters.

Environment Secretary Therese Coffey is expected to shortly introduce a new plan, which will ensure all homes in England recycle the same materials, ending the confusion and postcode lottery over what can and cannot be recycled.

A Defra source said: “We are making recycling simpler and putting an end to the confusion that leads to rubbish being put into black bin bags and driven off to landfill.

“The Secretary of State has ordered that councils won’t face a top-down edict on bin numbers and will have the flexibility they need for their residents.”

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