McGlone pushes Minister on Green New Deal

SDLP MLA for Mid-Ulster Patsy McGlone has spoken about the benefits of the proposals in the Green New Deal.

Mr McGlone who is Chair of the Enterprise, Trade and Investment Committee was speaking during an Assembly debate on the Budget Bill.

He said: “I was extremely disappointed that an economic evaluation and appraisal carried out by the Department for Social Development (DSD) seemed to have ruled out The Green New Deal. This is a package of policy proposals that will address the impact of global warming and financial crises.

“Regrettably the economic appraisal was more or less throwing the baby out with the bath water. I would urge the Finance Minister who is charged with implementing a prudent budget to seriously consider the potential benefits of The Green New Deal.

“The proposals in The Green New Deal include Government-led investment in energy efficiency and micro generation; low-carbon infrastructure redevelopment as a job creation strategy; a directed windfall tax on the profits of oil and gas families and prevent corporate tax evasion to name a few.

“Some of these proposals have already been implemented in the US, the UK and the European Union. They reflect the need to reflect ecosystem valuations and reduce systematic incentives to invest in ‘dirty’ over ‘clean’ industries.

“The Green New Deal provides a way to safeguard the environment and help create jobs for the construction industry by retrofitting homes with insulation schemes and help tackle the worst excesses of fuel poverty. Those excesses mean that a lot of people, mainly older people, wind up in hospital at considerable cost to the health service while they are there and afterwards with community care projects and assistance in their homes.

“Through proper investment in the economy, environment and home insulation, you can actually invest to make considerable savings in the health budget, aside from the economic, environmental and health benefits that would accrue to many members of the population.

“That is an issue that I would like the Minister to give full consideration to. I want to hear what the Minister has to say, particularly about how money that is properly invested can lead to savings and help to benefit the wider economy and society as a whole.”