Press Story

Leading think tank slams decision to cut domestic air passenger duty just days ahead of COP26

The head of IPPR’s landmark Environmental Justice Commission responds to the budget, warning that the Chancellor missed the opportunity to set our world leading climate investments ahead of the COP26 global climate summit next week.

Luke Murphy, head of the IPPR Environmental Justice Commission, said:

“Today the Chancellor declared the UK was entering an ‘age of optimism’ but instead he used the budget to extend the fossil fuel age.

“Cutting air passenger duty on domestic flights will increase emissions when we should be making train travel a more affordable option. Though increases in duty on long-haul flights are welcome, the cut to domestic duty sends an appalling signal ahead of COP26.

“Indeed, Rishi Sunak talked for longer about beer duty, than our duty to future generations to address the climate and nature crises.

“The truth is, this climate-void, fossil-fuel heavy budget failed to deliver the necessary £30 billion of investment needed each year to meet our climate and nature targets.

“Investing in a green economy would have been the fiscally responsible thing to do, avoiding the huge costs of inaction, and maximising the benefits and opportunities of the transition. Our research shows that 1.7 million jobs could be created by 2035 in sectors from transport to home retrofit and low carbon electricity.”

“This budget was an own goal for a government that should be leading the world, ahead of the all-important global climate summit COP26, into a new low carbon age.”


Luke Murphy is available for interview


David Wastell, Head of News and Communications: 07921 403651

Robin Harvey, Digital and Media Officer: 07779 204798


  1. IPPR’s cross-party Environmental Justice Commission’s blueprint for a fair transition to net zero, Fairness and Opportunity: A people-powered plan for the green transition, was published last month and can be read here:
  2. Among the commission’s recommendations, it called for £30 billion a year investment in a green economy. Analysis by IPPR shows that the transition could create 1.7 million jobs by 2035 in sectors from transport to home retrofit and low carbon electricity.
  3. IPPR has called for a major fiscal stimulus to secure a strong recovery, matching the ambition of the US President Joe Biden’s stimulus plans.
    Prosperity and Justice after the Pandemic by George Dibb, Carsten Jung, Henry Parkes and Shreya Nanda, published last week, is available at:
    See also Boost it like Biden by Carsten Jung and Dr George Dibb at:
  4. IPPR is the UK’s pre-eminent progressive think tank. With more than 40 staff in offices in London, Manchester, Newcastle and Edinburgh, IPPR is Britain’s only national think tank with a truly national presence.