Reacting to the government’s new energy proposals, Matt Gitsham, director of Ashridge Centre for Business and Sustainability, has issued a stark warning.

He said, “We live in an age where we’re all crying out for better leadership – from the banks, from media barons like the Murdochs, from politicians.

“Today’s decision to back gas fired power stations into the 2030s and block new carbon targets after 2020 shows George Osborne, like so many politicians is in a state of denial about the big issues facing this country and is a real failure of leadership.

“Business leaders campaigned long and hard for long term carbon targets – they know that climate change is the biggest challenge of our generation and something we need to fix now, and for business to do what they know they must on carbon, they need the long term government backed policy framework that makes sure everyone plays to the same rules. This is leadership. Osborne’s lack of leadership, by contrast, is bad for business and bad for the country.”