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“George’s Gaff” : Rent from George Eustice’s constituency office used to fund Insulate Britain

Photo credit: Gav Goulder

Press Release – February 10th, 10am

For Immediate release

A coalition of investors, who own the Camborne constituency office of Environment Minister George Eustice, announced today that they have donated all of his rent so far to the Insulate Britain campaign.

In the run up to the Extinction Rebellion protests at G7 in Cornwall in June 2021, the group of 30 set up a company under the name of Cawton Ltd which is an anagram of Act Now – one of Extinction Rebellion’s three key demands. 

The group acquired the property at 13, Commercial Street, Camborne on 18th October 2021 for the sum of £51,000. Since then the company has received £2,820 (ex VAT) in rent from the House of Commons which has been donated to help pay the legal defence costs of Insulate Britain supporters.

Brenda Shrewsbury, 65, a grandmother of three from Budock Water said: 

Insulate Britain had it right and the government and media crucified them for it. Now we’re all feeling the pain of the home energy crisis, while the oil and gas companies make windfall profits and some ignorant MPs want to roll back progress on reducing our emissions.

“The rent from George’s gaff is tiny compared with the costs faced by the individuals that have been persecuted by the government for demanding action on home insulation, but I hope that this move will inspire others to do what they can. We need to come together and act now on the climate emergency.

Since November last year, 28 Insulate Britain supporters have been charged with contempt of court, 25 people have been found guilty and 13 have been sent to prison, in some cases more than once. 12 people have received suspended prison sentences. So far the courts have awarded costs of £84,000 against Insulate Britain defendants, with a further claim of £159,216 from lawyers acting for the government due to be decided next week.

The group has decided to donate future rent money to local food banks and community initiatives to help people suffering from the cost of living crisis and facing the choice of whether to heat or eat.

Sally Wright, a mother of three from St Day said:

“I invested because I am sick and tired of the Environment Minister’s complete refusal to make any decisions which deviate from ‘business as usual’ when we are facing a devastating climate crisis that will lead to the death of millions if we don’t take immediate action. I’m glad we’re using his rent to pay the fines of the people who are risking their livelihoods, reputations and personal safety to give the rest of us hope that change is possible.”

Daniel Newman from Carharrack, who is also one of George Eustice’s constituents said

“There are plenty of reasons to push back against the soft denialism of ministers like George Eustice. He’s been spreading lies about pollution from electric vehicles, undermining the government’s plan to roll-out heat pumps, approving bee harming pesticides and allowing water companies to pollute our rivers with impunity, all the while touting his green credentials. 

“ People are beginning to think he is on the payroll of the oil industry.”

Last week George Eustice was quoted as saying that electric cars are not necessarily as green as people believe and that as electric cars are heavier, they produce more brake, tire, and road dust than petrol and diesel cars. A claim that was easily debunked by the editor of WhichEV online magazine, James Morris who wrote that Eustice was “just plain wrong”.

In January, Environment Minister Eustice approved the “emergency” use of the bee killing pesticide neonicotinoid thiamethoxam,  despite the Health and Safety Executive and the government’s expert committee on pesticides concluding that the requirements for an emergency authorisation had not been met, and that pollution from the pesticide would damage river life. This decision came just two months after the government passed a “world-leading” Environment Act with a target to halt species loss by 2030.

In November last year, Eustice was asked whether he had a heat pump and he responded that “the technology is not quite there.” This was a startling admission given that the government had just announced it’s long-awaited heat and buildings strategy which contained several measures to promote the use of heat pumps to help reduce carbon emissions from homes. These included a new Boiler Upgrade grant scheme that will pay £5,000 per household towards the cost of installing a heat pump. 

In October last year, Eustice encouraged MPs to vote against an amendment to the Environment Bill that would have forced water companies to end the practice of dumping untreated sewage in our rivers and seas. After MPs rejected the amendment there was an outcry among voters and the government was eventually forced into a u-turn.

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