Liz Truss is targeting green energy policies as she launches a Treasury review of government projects with a call to “junk the white elephants”.
Each Whitehall department will be made to justify afresh every line of expenditure of capital projects as part of the next round of spending, the chief secretary to the Treasury has said.
Ms Truss said she wanted to weed out programmes that were failing, had become outdated or had diverged from their original mission. She said day-to-day spending would be reviewed using new criteria to ensure that it delivered the most to improve life chances.
The prospect of a “zero-based capital review” will send tremors of fear across Whitehall and put the combative minister on a collision course with many of her colleagues. While some opponents hope that the review can be used to stop HS2, most ministers believe the project is too far advanced. In an article for The Sunday Telegraph Ms Truss hinted that the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy might be first in line. She asked whether ministers could “increase competition and reduce prices in energy by simplifying our approach to lowering carbon emissions”, which will be taken as a statement of intent to review the substantial government support for green energy schemes.
“In reviewing this evidence, we must be prepared to junk the white elephants, the programmes that haven’t worked, and roll back mission creep, where government involves itself in areas the private sector can deliver. Growth and bang-for-buck must take precedence,” she said.