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Fri, 4 December 2020

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Exclusive: Scrap Treasury and set up new ‘Department for Sustainability’, Lib Dem hopeful Layla Moran says

Exclusive: Scrap Treasury and set up new ‘Department for Sustainability’, Lib Dem hopeful Layla Moran says

Layla Moran has set out her economic plan as she runs for Lib Dem leader (PA)

2 min read

The Liberal Democrat leadership candidate Layla Moran has set out a series of radical economic proposals — including scrapping the Treasury altogether.

The Oxford West MP told PoliticsHome she wants to break up the department and replace it with two new ones — a Department for Sustainability and a Department for Public Finances.

The plans are contained in the 37-year-old’s policy book, published on Friday, as she vies for her party’s top job with acting boss Sir Ed Davey and energy spokesperson Wera Hobhouse.

Ms Moran described her platform “as a centre-left version of the 2004 Lib Dem Orange Book”, seen as a key document shaping the Coalition government.

In it, she also calls for a return of the Green Investment Bank sold off by the Conservatives in 2017 — with greater powers and funding to invest in projects like offshore wind and insulating homes.

Ms Moran is also advocating scrapping VAT on electric cars, reducing the average cost by more than £5,000, and attaching legally-binding targets on reducing emissions to any Government bailouts to high-carbon industries.

The leadership challenger told PoliticsHome: “This pandemic has served as a wake-up call that we cannot go back to how things were. 

“The country is now faced with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to lead the world in making the transition to a carbon-negative economy. It’s crucial that we seize this opportunity with both hands.”

Accusing the Conservatives of slashing green subsidies while handing over billions of public money to polluting industries, she called on the Chancellor “to reverse this damaging and short-sighted approach”.

On scrapping the Treasury, Ms Moran said the department has “proved consistently incapable of responding to long-term environmental risks”.

She called for the department to be broken and have separate sections; one focused on the economy, and one to oversee the public finances. 

Her proposed Department of Sustainability would wrap in the current responsibilities of of the Business Energy and Industrial Strategy brief as well as Defra, and take the lead in ensuring the economy is “environmentally sustainable, resource-efficient and zero-carbon”.

There is a case the person in charge of the new department should the serve as deputy prime minister, the MP suggested.

Ms Moran added: “I am setting out bold, radical policies that would invest in jobs for young people and harness their enthusiasm for tackling the climate emergency. 

“We need an economy that puts the environment and people's well-being first.”

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