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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

Sunak net zero backtrack is an ‘historic mistake’ that will cost consumers, risk jobs and undermine energy security says IPPR

Responding to Rishi Sunak’s speech on net zero, Luke Murphy, associate director for energy and climate at IPPR, said: 

“The Prime Minister has today made a historic mistake that’s likely to cost consumers in higher bills, put jobs and our economic prosperity at risk, and undermine our energy security.

“Rishi Sunak has misread the mood of the public who overwhelmingly back net zero and want to see more climate ambition and action from government not less.

“The decisions announced today will make households poorer, colder, and more reliant on volatile, dirty, and expensive fossil fuels. They also potentially put the UK off track to meet its legally binding climate commitments, including net zero by 2050.

“Households are already feeling the benefits of home-grown, cleaner energy, with wind power much cheaper than expensive, imported gas. While those who own green technology like electric vehicles and heat pumps are facing lower levels of inflation. These measures would have accelerated cost reductions benefiting consumers right across the UK, now much of these benefits could be lost.

“The world is in a global green race, the economic opportunity of the 21st century, and Rishi Sunak has just holed the UK below the water line. While other nations race ahead, the UK is sinking fast.” 

IPPR makes four key arguments about the Prime Minister’s speech today:

  • It is bad for consumers. The government’s decisions today will cost consumers in higher bills. 

  • It is bad for our economy. The race to net zero, according to the government’s own advisor, is the economic opportunity of the 21st century and investors need stability and certainty. While other countries race ahead, the UK is going into reverse gear. 

  • It derails the UK’s net zero 2050 ambition. While the PM has said there is no intention to remove the headline net zero 2050 commitment, abandoning or delaying the key measures to get the UK there, will have the same effect. 

  • It is likely to be unpopular with the public. The public overwhelmingly support climate action regardless of age, geography, background or voting intention - they want more ambition on climate not less. 


Luke Murphy is available for interview


David Wastell, director of news and communications: 07921 403651 [email protected] 
Liam Evans, Senior Digital and Media Officer: 07419 365334 [email protected] 


  1. Luke Murphy recently wrote on how to deliver a just transition, available here:  

  2. 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.