One in five people in the UK still live in poverty, often without enough money to heat their homes or to eat healthily. Tackling Climate Change, Reducing Poverty shows that the poorest people in the UK will be worst affected by the effects of climate change. And unless measures to combat climate change are carefully tailored, they will hit the poorest hardest: taxing fossil fuels to reduce emissions would make it harder for people on low incomes to buy food and use transport.
The report also shows how the need to combat climate change could present a huge opportunity to tackle poverty too. There are a host of climate mitigation measures which could help to lift people out of poverty: home insulation cuts fuel bills, keeps homes warm and reduces CO2 emissions. Investment in public transport provides affordable travel for all and cuts air pollution. All these measures could be part of an equitable transition to a low-carbon economy which creates new skilled 'green collar jobs' in home insulation, energy efficiency and public transport which help us battle the recession. Training should be made available to help people access these new job sectors.
The message from the coalition is clear: now, more than ever, government can - and must - tackle poverty and climate change. If not, the poorest people, both in the UK and around the world, will pay the price.