Phillip Hammond said in his Budget statement this afternoon that we owe it to our children to make sure they have clean air to breathe. Nothing to disagree with in that.
However, Hammond being Sham-mond, what he offered to do about it was next to meaningless.
He announced a levy on diesel vehicles that will, supposedly, fund a £220 million fund for local authorities’ clean air measures – which might sound like a lot of money to some, but isn’t.
The UK has over four hundred local authorities, according to local government think-tank LGiU. – which means that each authority will only receive an average of just over £500,000. Local authorities have seen massive cuts in their budgets since 2010, so the additional funding is minuscule in context.
It’s not clear yet whether Hammond’s fund will be a one-off, a yearly amount or spread across the whole Parliament – knowing Hammond, option three is the most likely.
But even if it’s repeated annually, it’s peanuts.
And smoke and mirrors. Smoked, glazed peanuts, then.
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