Government»Porritt parting shot at ministers
»Monday, August 3,2009
Sir Jonathon Porritt, who left his role at the weekend, criticised ministers on the environment and social justice, and for failing to protect UK prosperity.
He told the BBC the biggest problems were in the Treasury, business and transport departments.
The government said it had a "strong record" on environmental policies.
Sir Jonathon told BBC environment analyst Roger Harrabin that the three departments singled out were dogmatically following an outdated Thatcherite model of economic growth regardless of the social and environmental consequences.
Business Secretary Lord Mandelson had been particularly hostile to the concept of sustainable development, Sir Jonathon also claimed.
He said there had been a massive failure of political leadership, with elements of deep hypocrisy, and that the UK was a world leader in green rhetoric.
On key issues such as fuel policy Labour ministers should feel an abiding shame, he said.
Sir Jonathon said: "The government got completely seduced by the [Thatcherite] economic model it inherited in 1997. It felt the model should be run full on.
"That model is hostile to sustainable development where you are not discounting factors about people's wellbeing and the state of the environment.
"If you look at what the Treasury has done since 1997, it is dogmatically to defend the model of consumption-driven economic growth, regardless of some of the costs that growth generates."
He also attacked the government on fuel poverty, child poverty, the Iraq war and the Trident missile system.
Sir Jonathon was appointed chairman of the Sustainable Development Commission by Tony Blair's government in 2000.
Our correspondent said it was a very deep critique by someone who had observed the government close-up for a very long time.
A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: "The UK's leadership on climate change is rooted in a strong record at home.
"We're moving further and faster, driven by a 2050 80% target set into law and strong commitment on climate change in cabinet.
"Jonathan Porritt last week praised our Low Carbon Transition Plan which is backed by active steps to make sure firms in the UK grab the growth and job opportunities in nuclear, renewable, electric car and other growth industries."