From Caroline Lucas <[email protected]>
Subject Latest Newsletter
Date October 31, 2021 7:07 PM
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Green Party mailing

With just days to go before the UK hosts the UN climate summit, I sat
through the Chancellor's budget speech waiting to hear what action he would
be taking on the climate emergency. I couldn't believe it when he sat down
after an hour without having mentioned the words climate or nature. It was
as if the climate emergency didn't exist. This budget could have been the
moment when the Government properly funded its Net Zero Review at the speed
and scale that climate science demands. Not only did the Chancellor not do
that, he cut the air passenger duty for domestic flights so making flying
cheaper than alternatives like travelling by rail, and kept the freeze on
fuel duty. What a wasted opportunity and a dereliction of responsibility -
as I said in a comment piece for the Independent [1].

For local businesses in Brighton, there was some welcome action on business
rates, particularly for the hospitality sector. But not keeping VAT at
12.5% for tourism, and not expanding small business rate relief, is a real

As for the funding promised to the NHS, for educational catch-up or
levelling up, most of it is merely undoing the damage done by the Tories
over the past 11 years. Pupil funding is, in real terms, no better than it
was in 2010.


Yet again, to great fanfare but little effect, the Government unveiled two
climate action plans that are woefully underfunded and will almost
certainly under-deliver. The heat and buildings strategy, in particular,
provides for fewer than 100,000 heat pumps when millions are needed, and
does little to address the issue of insulation. Without it, a heat pump
will not keep a home warm. I spoke about the weakness of the Government's
plan on Newsnight, Sky News, BBC News Channel and C4 News. And I wrote a
comment piece for Times Red Box [2].


The day after the Government announced its Net Zero Strategy, I introduced
the Green New Deal bill in Parliament under its formal title, the
Decarbonisation and Economic Strategy Bill. It sets out an action plan to
keep us within 1.5C of warming, restore nature and reverse inequality by
mobilising every part of government, and is backed by a cross-party group
of MPs, some of whom joined me for the launch. My speech introducing the
bill is here [3].


The following day, I led a debate [4] in Parliament on the climate
emergency, COP26 and limiting global temperature rise to 1.5C. It was a
really well-attended debate with some strong speeches and support for
climate action from all parties, marred only by a few Tory MPs who believe
the UK has no responsibility to take urgent action on the climate crisis
because "we only account for 1% of emissions". That is plain wrong, as I
pointed out [5] in the debate.


Earlier the same day, I joined a line-up of MPs, peers, scientists and
others handing in a letter to Number 10 calling for a UK climate action
plan aligned with 1.5C, the protection and restoration of ecosystems and a
joint global action plan to tackle the climate and nature crises.


There has been a huge and completely justified campaign on social media
about an amendment to the Environment Bill that would have stopped water
companies discharging untreated sewage into our rivers and coastal waters.
I backed this amendment, but it was voted down by the Government, which was
then forced to partially U-turn because of the reaction. I spoke about
these discharges [6] during the debate and the disgraceful record of
Southern Water which was responsible for almost 7,000 illegal sewage
discharges over a five-year period. Water companies were privatised 30
years ago with the promise that this would enable the necessary investment
in infrastructure to take place. It hasn't happened. Shareholders and
executives have lined their pockets while rivers and beaches have been
polluted. Privatisation has failed.

The failure to compel water companies to take action on sewage discharges
is just one of many failings in the Environment Bill. There is insufficient
action on pesticides, on the protection of habitats, and the new
environmental protection regulator needs to be truly independent.


While the Government regularly pats itself on the back for the Covid
vaccine rollout in the UK, its promises to poorer countries have not been
honoured. It's delivered less than 10% of the doses it promised and there
is huge inequity in the global vaccine rollout, an obscene moral failure. I
raised this with ministers [7] and got an utterly hopeless and meaningless


Some of the most distressing correspondence my office receives is from
constituents who are desperately worried about family members trapped in
Afghanistan. I have been trying for some weeks to question ministers in the
House about the Afghan citizens' resettlement scheme and was able to do so
last week [8].

The scheme was announced on August 18th, but is still not up and running.
Promises made to Afghans who worked closely with the Government are
ignored, and emails go unanswered, putting lives at risk. Unfortunately,
nothing the Minister said gave me any reassurance that the situation would
improve soon. I talked about the scheme's failings on the BBC News channel.


This has been one of my passions which I have been campaigning on for some
years and one I had a chance to talk about [9] during a debate in
Westminster Hall on the inclusion of sustainability and climate change in
the national curriculum. I hope we are near to achieving it.


The continued detention of Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe in Iran is a deep
injustice and a nightmare for her family. Her husband Richard has now begun
another hunger strike outside the Foreign Office to try to put pressure on
ministers to secure her release. I went along to give him my support.


I will be travelling to Glasgow at the end of the week for the UN climate
summit. Time is running out to turn away from the disastrous course we are
on and it is vital world leaders go beyond fine words and pledges and take
urgent action in line with climate science. It is also vital that the
thread of climate justice - for the global south and for future generations
- runs through every negotiation at the summit.

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Contacting Me

If you are a local resident and need help with case work or to find out more about my activities locally please do contact me at the office of: Caroline Lucas MP, Brighton Media Centre 15-17 Middle Street, Brighton BN1 1AL.
Tel: 01273 201 130. Email: [email protected]

I hold regular surgeries across the constituency. If you would like to book an appointment at a forthcoming surgery please call Liz Collis on 01273 201130.
She coordinates my constituency office and is able to help with most local enquiries.

If you would like to know about my parliamentary work please get in touch at the House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA.
Tel: 020 7219 7025. Email: [email protected]

You can also keep up to date with my news on:

Twitter: @carolinelucas

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My Website:

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