Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Leader of the House of Commons, has insisted that the Clean Air Zone in Greater Manchester will stay, after Denton and Reddish MP Andrew Gwynne requested that the Government ‘look again’ at the direction.
The Clean Air Zone is due to go live across 10 Greater Manchester authorities in May. The zone is an instruction from the Tory Government after it lost a supreme Court Case brought by the climate change group Client Earth back in 2015.
The Government instruction means that Greater Manchester is legally obligated to implement the zone. However, the scheme is incredibly controversial, with politicians including Gwynne accusing the Government of not providing the requisite support to small businesses to comply with the new scheme.
In the House of Commons on Thursday, Gwynne raised the issue with the Leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg. Gwynne argued that the £120 million pound allocated from the Governent to Greater Manchester for retrofitting was ‘wholly inadequate’, and as a result the proposed CAZ is ‘harmful’ to many small businesses.
Mogg responded by stating that Greater Manchester has a ‘socialist mayor who must live up to his responsibilities’ and follow the order from Government.
Commenting on the exchange, Andrew Gwynne said:
“I was disappointed, but not necessarily surprised by Rees-Mogg’s response. It shows the disdain that he and the Government have towards Greater Manchester, and their reluctance to work with us constructively.
Effectively tackling these issues means Government providing proper support and partnership to get results.
The Government cannot demand Greater Manchester implement these wide-ranging reforms without giving us the tools to do it fairly and in a way that doesn’t unfairly penalise residents and small business owners.
I would encourage the Government to distance itself from Jacob Rees-Mogg’s pretty childish comments and get around the table with local Government and council leaders from Greater Manchester to sort this problem out.”