8 July 2020 Wandsworth Greens join Merton Greens on zoom for an inspiring address on financing a green recovery. The presentation was given by Merton Green Party member Professor Nick Robins from the London School of Economics.
Professor Robins noted that the Government has adopted some of the rhetoric of the Green New Deal which was first put forward by Caroline Lucas many years ago, but that the actions it has taken so far are tiny in relation to what is actually needed. He gave the example that while we would need to retrofit 20,000 homes a week to meet even a 2050 zero carbon target we only managed to retrofit 27,000 homes in the whole of last year.
But he emphasised that there is no shortage of financial resources to do the work required. For example, the Government provides the pensions industry with £50bn a year in tax relief, but there are no conditions attached - its receipt could be linked to investing in green goals. Another route to financing a green recovery could come require via the Bank of England’s £300bn asset purchase scheme. Currently this scheme also has no strings attached but green goals could be prioritised here too . For those who want to know more about this money tree the professor recommended the essay ‘How Do We Pay For A Green New Deal’ by economist Anne Pettifor.
One step that all of us who pay towards pensions - or receive them can take is to sign this petition by Make My Money Matter. It calls on UK pension funds to put people and the planet on a par with profit when investing in our pensions. You can find out more about Make My Money Matter here.
At a local level some councils have begun looking at what they can do towards a green recovery despite their dire financial position and one option being examined is to issue community municipal bonds to raise money from better-off residents for investment in local green causes. Tory controlled West Berkshire is an example of a local authority working in this way. Their partners in the scheme are the online crowdfunding platform Abundance, a London based investment company that aims to support projects that deliver benefits for society and the environment. As of May 2017, £40.5 million has been invested in 24 projects, including a 500 kWp turbine in Gloucestershire, a residential solar project in the South Downs, and free solar power for various schools across the UK.