Press Release of the Day – 5th May

New polling – aviation & high-carbon industries wrong priorities for bailouts

93% of people do not consider aviation a priority for a bailout, according to polling by YouGov, commissioned by Greenpeace UK. The findings come as the Department for Transport and the Treasury are reportedly holding daily meetings with airlines to finalise a bailout package, with an announcement expected this week – suggesting the government is at odds with the public over which sectors are most deserving of financial support.

Health was the public’s top priority, with 58% support, with education, farming and manufacturing all receiving over 35%. Retail and public transport each gained support from over 20% of those polled. The aviation sector was a priority for just 7%, with 4% of people prioritising the oil and gas industry and 2% the car industry.

Fiona Nicholls, a climate campaigner for Greenpeace UK, said: “Airlines were first in the queue with their hands out for public money as soon as the COVID-19 crisis arrived. But they are certainly not top of the public’s priorities, where nurses, teachers, farmers and factory workers are all way ahead of airline bosses like Richard Branson.

“Over the next decade, the government needs to restrict demand for aviation to reduce emissions, and speed up leaving petrol and diesel vehicles behind, along with the oil and gas industry.

Using public money to make environmental problems bigger instead of investing in the solutions would be the definition of false economy. Public money should be used for public benefit, and any bailouts need strict conditions attached to make sure that happens.”

The full polling results are available here –

Click to access Greenpeace_GovernmentSupport_200501.pdf

On Friday Greenpeace launched an open letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, which members of the public can sign, calling for the Chancellor to attach conditions to any bailouts for the aviation industry, specifically –

Protect workers. Workers’ rights, pay and representation should be the priority, not profits for shareholders or bosses.

Protect the climate. Government must reduce the number of flights to tackle the sector’s climate impact without relying on offsetting.

Protect the public. The industry has to start paying a fair share of tax, including a Frequent Flier Levy to make sure those who fly the most pay the most.

At the time of writing the letter has gained 83,500 signatories.

– Ends –

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