Budget 2021 must place nature at heart of economic recovery
Plaid MP calls on Chancellor to stop ‘obsession with GDP’ and grant Wales tools to fight climate change
Plaid Cymru’s Treasury spokesperson, Ben Lake MP, has today (2 February 2021) urged the UK Government to break away from its “obsession with GDP as a measure of success” and to grant Wales “crucial tools in the fight against climate change”, in light of the publication of a new review on the Economics of Biodiversity.
The Dasgupta Review, published today, was commissioned by the Treasury and was supported by an Advisory Panel drawn from public policy, science, economics, finance and business. The review calls for a new framework setting out the ways in which we should account for nature in economics and decision-making. The Plaid Cymru MP said that the publication of the review reflects a “significant and welcome shift in economic thinking”.
Ben Lake MP said that the review must lead to urgent changes in the UK Government’s economic policies ahead of the Budget on 3 March 2021. He criticised the Treasury’s continued use of Gross domestic product (GDP) as a measure of success, a measure which “completely ignores the unsustainable exploitation of the planet’s resources”.
He also criticised the UK Government’s Internal Market Act 2020 for depriving Wales of powers to take effective climate action. He referred to the Act’s non-discrimination clauses, which legally prohibit Wales from taking action to restrict the use of single-use plastics. Mr Lake said that this “must urgently be redressed”.
Responding to the publication of the Dasgupta Review, Plaid Cymru’s Treasury spokesperson, Ben Lake MP, said:
“The publication of the Dasgupta Review reflects a significant and welcome shift in economic thinking, placing nature's recovery at the heart of our economic recovery. It is vital that Treasury takes its recommendations on board ahead of the Budget on 3 March.
“The impact of climate change is increasingly being felt by people all over the world, and yet so-called developed countries continue their obsession with GDP as a measure of success and growth, which completely ignores the unsustainable exploitation of the planet’s resources that such an obsession entails.
“An attempt was made in Wales to break away from this narrow, and destructive, view of progress with the principles embodied in the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act, and so it was disappointing to see the UK Government recently deprive Wales of crucial tools in the fight against climate change in the form of the Internal Market Act 2020. The Act legally prohibits Wales from taking action to restrict the use of single-use plastics. That must urgently be redressed.
“Dasgupta shows how the economy can work for the benefit of our environment, rather than working against it. The Budget is the Chancellor’s golden opportunity to put that into action.”