Wednesday 22 September 2010

Could the Treasury be about to swallow Chris Huhne?

Climate change policy is one long-term area where the Coalition's overall agenda has largely been of continuity with the objectives of the outgoing Labour government, given a cross-party consensus (on the frontbenches at least) on the importance of climate change and the transition to a low carbon economy.

Climate Secretary Chris Huhne has set out his ambition for this to be "the greenest government ever".

The Guardian reports that Huhne is fighting some significant battles with the Treasury over the means to achieve this, and even perhaps the independent existence of his Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Part of the argument is reported to be over a proposal is to physically relocate the department inside the Treasury building - as a cost-saving exercise - though Huhne is said to have rejected this, for fear it would compromise DECC's independence.

Another, perhaps more substantive, issue is whether the promised Green Investment Bank will have any public funding.

Michael Jacobs, former Fabian general secretary before being an Downing Street and Treasury adviser to the Labour government, set out some of the major policy decisions at stake in an informative Guardian commentary The greenest government ever? Only if the Treasury can be tamed earlier this month.

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