Michael Gove indicates growth plans set to be watered down amid Cop27 backlash – msnNOW


Rishi Sunak could attend Cop27 next week despite previously indicating he would not travel to the climate summit, sources suggested on Sunday. 
The Prime Minister said on Friday he would stay in Britain to focus on “depressing domestic challenges” ahead of next month’s Autumn Statement.
He told broadcasters: “I think that’s what people watching would reasonably expect me to be doing as well.”
However, a source told the Financial Times that Mr Sunak could travel to Egypt after all, adding: “Going depends on progress.”
Government sources stressed on Sunday the Prime Minister was focused on the fiscal plan on November 17.
Alok Sharma, president of last year’s Cop26 summit, criticised Mr Sunak for not attending next week’s Cop27 conference in Sharm el-Sheikh.
Mr Sharma, demoted in last week’s Cabinet reshuffle, told the Times he was “pretty disappointed“.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, the former business secretary, defended the Prime Minister’s decision to stay away.
“His responsibility is primarily domestic,” he told the Telegraph. “I am sceptical about the value of these large scale conferences. They are as much about virtue-signalling as productive policy making and cost taxpayers a small fortune.”
It came as Michael Gove, the Levelling Up Secretary, indicated Liz Truss’s flagship growth policy of investment zones was set to be watered down over environmental concerns.
Ms Truss was planning to create dozens of “investment zones” across Britain which would benefit from tax cuts and speedier planning rules.
However, Mr Gove confirmed in an interview with Laura Kuenssberg on Sunday he was “reviewing” the scheme after his return to Cabinet last week.
“We need to make sure that any change that we make is one which of course helps to support economic growth and good jobs for people in need,” he said.
“But also one of the concerns raised about investment zones was the impact on the environment. Anything that might in any way undermine environmental protections is out.”
Mr Gove added he would cooperate with Jeremy Hunt, the Chancellor, and Therese Coffey, the Environment Secretary, to look carefully at the proposals drawn up by Mr Sunak’s predecessor.
A Government source told the Telegraph ministers were committed to the party’s 2019 manifesto pledge to “protect and restore” the environment, pointing to criticisms of Ms Truss’s plans by the RSPB and the National Trust.
Confirming the whole policy was under review amid the current economic circumstances, they said the economic case for pressing ahead with the policy was “not clear”.
They noted the blueprint for investment zones had failed to rule out developments on land including national parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty and designated green belt zones.
The source added: “It could potentially lead to over £12billion in lost revenue if the schemes were uncapped – and we’ve all seen what happens with unfunded tax cuts.”
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