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No 10 rules out starting Commons summer recess before new PM takes office – live news | Politics


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No 10 slaps down Hammond over £1tr cost claim about cutting net emissions to zero

Downing Street has very firmly, if indirectly, reprimanded Philip Hammond for arguing that a pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 would cost the country £1tn, money which could otherwise have been spent on public services.

In a letter to Theresa May, leaked to the Financial Times, the chancellor argued that the target could see some industries become “economically uncompetitive”.

In a robust response, May’s spokeswoman dismissed Hammond’s line of argument, while officially insisting this was a general point, and not directed particularly at the chancellor.

No 10 believe Hammond is, in economic terms, comparing apples and oranges by both treating an all-economy cost as if it was just a government spend, and failing to take account the benefits such a policy would bring, or accounting for the costs of failing to act. Downing Street also says any predicted cost would be bound to fall over time.

The spokeswoman said:

Obviously, I’m not getting into the contents of the letter, but broadly there are a lot of figures out there on this issue that don’t factor in the benefits or consider the costs of not doing this. I would add that the costs related to meeting this target are whole-of-the-economy costs, not a fiscal cost, and so it’s not really right to frame it as a trade-off for public spending. I think that’s important to set out.

Asked if Hammond was thus being misleading, she added:

I just set out the way we believe this should be framed. I’m not going to talk about the specifics of a leak, but I think I’ve been pretty clear in the position from the PM.



This is what the Downing Street spokeswoman said about how the government has ruled out starting the summer recess before the new prime minister has been elected. She said:

I fully expect that the house will ensure it is sitting when a new prime minister is appointed. Then it’s a matter for the house, after that, what activity or action it chooses to take.


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