The UK government is continuing to defy its own austerity rhetoric by funding environmental quangos to the tune of hundreds of millions of pounds, creating a corporatist market in the field of environmental technologies in the process.
In the last 24 hours alone the British government has announced more than five million pounds of funding on superfluous environmental projects which would be better left to the private sector to fund.
That money includes £1.3 million pounds being splurged on new strains of berries designed to capitalise on the trend for home-grown berries, and a further £4 million on finding ways for businesses to use environmental data generated by government owned environmental research bodies such as the Met Office.
Jonathan Isaby, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance told Breitbart London: “With the real national debt hitting £8.6 trillion, it is just madness for the government to waste over a million pound of taxpayers’ money on developing sweeter strawberries. We already pay more on servicing our debt interest than we pay on our defence and transport budget put together, we simply cannot afford any more irresponsible spending.
“The environmental projects are a classic example of well-intended but utterly useless and hugely expensive projects which have put us in this financial mess in the first place. We simply cannot continue to waste millions of taxpayers’ pounds on these anymore.”
Yet government ministers continue to give their backing to such projects. In the case of the berries, environmental secretary Elizabeth Truss said: “Scottish berries are up there with Scottish beef and lamb as a top quality UK product and this research will only enhance our reputation for producing good food both here and abroad.
“These projects demonstrate that by investing in the most cutting-edge techniques, and working collaboratively across the UK to raise standards, we can boost productivity and help more Scottish and UK producers to compete in international markets.”
The money also represents the government’s adherence to climate change dogma through the generous funding of quangos. Funding for the berry research is coming from the £70m Agri-Tech Catalyst fund, just one of many such funds run by Innovate UK.
Itself funded to the tune of £400 million and employing 250 staff, Innovate UK lists as one of it’s aims for 2014/15 it’s ambition to launch “more than 80 competitions for up to £536 million government funding.”
Innovate UK is also behind the competition to find novel uses of governmental environmental data. 33 companies were awarded up to £200,000 each to undertake feasibility studies; in total, £4 million was spent on the competition.
Companies awarded funding include Airbus Defence and Space, which used satellite data to develop a system which can track forest degradation. Airbus said: “Forest destruction and degradation are of great interest, particularly as carbon credit schemes become more important. Anyone needing to monitor the health of a forest could be interested in our system.”
Also awarded funding was Sainsbury’s, Britain’s third largest supermarket chain. In 2010, Sainsbury’s achieved a turnover of £21.4 billion. Innovate UK handed them a grant to study “adaptation, management and mitigation of sustainability and climate change issues within grocery supply chains.”
The competition was also backed by a second quango, the Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC). The council describes itself as the “leading funder of environmental science in the UK” in it’s annual report 2013/14, investing public money in “cutting-edge research, postgraduate training and innovation in universities and research centres.”
In line with government policy it too is fully signed up to climate change dogma, stating: “We no longer live in a natural world – there is virtually no part of the environment that humans have left unchanged.
“NERC’s role is not simply to support science that observes and learns about natural processes that occur independently of us – we must also understand our own influence on the planet: what happens when systems that have evolved over hundreds of thousands or millions of years have to adapt to an environment that humans are rapidly and irrevocably altering.”
It’s budget is unclear, but it runs a whole fleet of ships and scientific aircraft, as well as having a number of research stations based all around the world. It also invests in satellite technology “y to monitor environmental change on a global scale.”
The TPA has just released a research paper highlighting the tremendous amount of wasteful spending by the government, leading to a national debt that’s more than five times Britain’s GDP.
“Debt on this scale is without precedent in Britain,” the report reads “The previous peak was during the Napoleonic Wars when the national debt reached over 250 per cent of GDP.
“More than a century later, the Second World War pushed our debt almost back to the same level relative to GDP but pension liabilities were very much smaller than today. A real national debt well in excess of five times GDP has taken us into entirely uncharted and dangerous waters.”
As well as the dubious moral legacy of leaving trillions of pounds in debt to our children, the government can now add the dubious moral legacy of creating a corporatist market built around the man made climate change myth.
Follow Donna Rachel Edmunds on Twitter: Follow @Donna_R_E or e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org