In an interview with the BBC’s Andrew Neil, Green Party leader Natalie Bennett said that Osborne had found some ‘reasons to fling some money around’, but that his Autumn Statement doesn’t direct it to the poor and disadvantaged.

Nor, she added, has the chancellor addressed climate change or the environmental crises we face, despite this year being being our warmest on record.

Natalie said that the chancellor’s Autumn Statement was made up of the ‘wrong spending for the wrong reasons’, and that she’d like to have seen more investment in warm, affordable homes instead of Osborne’s cut in air passenger duty and the freezing of fuel duty.

Greenpeace response

In response to the chancellor’s Autumn Statement, Dr Doug Parr, chief scientist at Greenpeace UK, said George Osborne had outlined a ‘1980s-style road-building programme and subsidies/tax breaks for fossil fuel giants’, when he should instead have used the Autumn Statement to map out job creation and a strategy to make homes ‘fit for the 21st century.’

‘In what looks like the warmest year on record, George Osborne has strikingly failed to shield the UK economy from climate change and grasp the opportunities of a modern clean-tech economy.

‘Some communities will be relieved to hear that flood budgets have now been allocated to projects, but the bill is set to outstrip the funding pot as temperatures continue to rise. The government must commit to tackling the symptoms and the causes of our increased rainfall by dealing with global warming emissions.

‘The chancellor should have announced a nationwide programme to upgrade Britain’s draughty homes, making them fit for the 21st century and creating jobs in every constituency. Instead we get a 1980s-style road building programme and subsidies/tax breaks for fossil fuel giants that will entrench the high carbon economy we should be moving away from.’

Dr Doug Parr, chief scientist at Greenpeace UK

Friends of the Earth

David Powell, Friends of the Earth’s senior economics campaigner, said ‘the chancellor has served up plenty of environmental gloom – with precious little silver lining.’

In reaction to the Autumn Statement, the charity announced that once again, the chancellor ‘has put polluters ahead of people.’

‘Mr Osborne yet again put powerful interests and big polluters ahead of our health, homes and wellbeing.

‘The chancellor has cut tax for dirty gas and oil, despite overwhelming scientific evidence of the need to end our fossil fuel dependency.

‘George Osborne’s response to Britain’s filthy air and heat-leaking homes that kill tens of thousands of vulnerable people every year is to build new roads and ignore calls for a comprehensive energy efficiency programme.

‘We have the ingenuity and resources to overcome the challenges we face and create an economy that benefits us all – but once again the people pulling the levers of power have let us down.’

David Powell, Friends of the Earth’s senior economics campaigner

Failing people and planet

Friends of the Earth says the Autumn Statement fails people and the planet for a number of reasons:

  • Tens of thousands of people die prematurely in Britain every year because of the nation’s dirty and unlawful air quality, mainly caused by traffic. Yet rather than tackling the problem the chancellor is to spend £15bn on road schemes that are likely to increase traffic levels

  • Tens of thousands of people die every year because they live in poorly insulated, cold homes. But George Osborne has ignored calls for a comprehensive home insulation programme – he has previously cut back on schemes that already existed

  • Hundreds of thousands of people live in homes threatened by flooding – and more are at risk from the impacts of climate change. However, spending on flood defences is at least half a billion pounds below what experts say is required to keep pace with global warming

  • Polls show that people do not want shale gas exploration and fracking in their neighbourhoods, but the chancellor has blown more air into the UK’s over-hyped fracking industry

  • Despite growing and more urgent calls from the scientific community for nations to end their reliance on fossil fuels to avert catastrophic climate change, the chancellor has handed out more tax cuts to the oil and gas industry

More information on the Autumn Statement and its contents can be found on the government’s website.