Treasury net zero review ‘delayed amid cost fears’

A key Treasury review into the cost of achieving the government’s flagship net zero goal has been delayed over fears that it will show that the policy will hit working class families hardest, according to reports.

A Treasury review of the costs associated with reducing net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050 was due for spring 2021, but has yet to emerge.

The push to achieve the 2050 goal is set to involve policies such as removing gas boilers from homes and enforcing a ban on the sale of petrol and diesel cars, and has recently been beset by rumours of Tory backbench disquiet and reports of rising tensions between chancellor Rishi Sunak and the prime minister Boris Johnson. 

The government’s much-anticipated Hydrogen Strategy, which was rumoured to be published last week, has also failed to emerge.

According to the Sunday Telegraph report, Johnson believes if early adopters of new technologies such as hydrogen boilers and electric cars can be encouraged, then prices will eventually fall. 

Sunak is said to agree on the need to bring down the cost of new technologies, but wants the private sector to “do most of the heavy lifting”, the report said. 

Reports of the tensions between the chancellor and prime minister come as a new Tory backbench group seeks to question the Westminster “consensus” on the urgency and cost of meeting decarbonisation targets by 2050.

READ MORE: Tory backbench ‘cost of net zero’ group: 7 things you need to know

Craig Mackinlay, MP for Thanet in Kent, is set to lead the new group, and is quoted by the Telegraph welcoming the Treasury’s reported caution over the net zero strategy.

He told the newspaper: “I’m very pleased the Treasury are actually thinking of this with a financial head on rather than just a warm feeling.”

“The Conservatives’ strongest hand has always been credibility: credibility to deliver good economics and good governance”, he continued, adding that “to ape the failed policies” of Jeremy Corbyn in the 2019 election “does not seem to be the way of electoral success”.

Steve Baker, MP for Wycombe, is also reported to be a key player in the new backbench group. He recently became a trustee of Lord Lawson’s prominent climate sceptic group, the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), and is a major figure in the influential Conservative backbench European Reform Group. 

Compliance Search

Discover all ENDS content in one place, including legislation summaries to keep up to date with compliance deadlines

Compliance Deadlines

Plan ahead with our Calendar feature highlighting upcoming compliance deadlines

Most-read articles


Principal Planner

Leeds is a fast growing city and the main driver of a city region with a £64.6 billion economy.

Officer 2 Environment Team x 2

Sustainable Management of Natural Resources

Environment Team Leader

If you want a role that offers variety and challenge, and to be a part of an organisation that has the sustainable management of natural resources at the core of our purpose, we would love to hear from you.

Non-Executive Member to the Office for Environmental Protection

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) is seeking to appoint a Non-Executive Member to the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP).

Installations Officer - Control of Major Accidents Hazards (COMAH)

We are looking for two enthusiastic professionals to join our North West Hub Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) Regulatory team as Installations Officers.

Installation Officer

If you’re part of the Environment Agency (EA), you’re part of the solution. Working with us means protecting and improving the environment for generations to come, tackling issues of national importance across a huge variety of disciplines.

Sustainable Development Programme Manager

An exciting opportunity has arisen for a driven and motivated individual to join a forward thinking and dynamic Directorate within Public Health Wales.