Two ways the UK can pay for a greener economy


A great deal has been correctly made of the need for international funding for the transformations required to adapt to climate change. Yet the UK could lead by example here by immediately announcing two funding mechanisms to put its own climate house in order, while showing that it is serious about making the COP26 conference a success.

As a first step, the government should introduce a third massive tranche of quantitative easing to add to its existing £900bn government money creation programme. This was used during the 2008/09 crisis to support the banks and during the covid crisis to support workers and businesses. Now is the time to start Green QE, which would use government-created money to invest directly in public and private sector projects that can deliver adequate social provision while also tackling the climate crisis.

At the same time, people’s savings could also have an immediate, huge and pivotal role. Chancellor Rishi Sunak has promised to launch a ‘green bond’ this summer and, were savers to be adequately incentivised, it has been shown how this could finance the Green New Deal.

In addition, how about announcing a Green Recovery ISA, enabling usually older savers to fund green jobs in every constituency?

This links in with my blog last week emphasised the fact that campaigners working for a radical transformation of environmental and social conditions in this country all know what policies and legislation they need, and even have an idea of the costs. But they also need to understand is that they will never get the changes they seek unless they pull together to show that the funding required can be readily found.

To help see off this Autumn’s expected austerity onslaught from the Chancellor, the Treasury and large sections of Tory MPs and their media supporters, the blog proposed a funding package encapsulated in the term ‘QuEST’. This stands for ‘quantitative easing (QE), savings and taxation’: all the main sources for funding the expenditure needed.

This approach has been developed with tax expert and fellow Green New Deal group member Richard Murphy, in consultation with others from the group.

On Thursday, Richard put a more detailed description of QuEST in one of his regular columns in the Scottish newspaper The National.  

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