"Absent" leadership from the government is delaying the UK's transition to a low carbon economy, according to shadow chancellor Ed Balls.

The Labour front bencher has said Chancellor “George Osborne’s unholy alliance with his troublesome backbenchers” means the government has “actively undermined business plans to create jobs and growth”. 

In an article for the New Statesman, Balls wrote that the government’s decision to not set decarbonisation target until 2016 and opposition to an EU 2030 renewable target have “fostered exactly the kind of policy uncertainty that scares away long-term investment”.

“The UK government risks snatching defeat from the jaws of victory,” he added, and that talking up an “implausible shale gas bonanza” has “cast further doubt on the government’s long term commitment to a low carbon future”.

Balls also criticised the government for “shackling” the Green Investment Bank (GIB) and said Labour would allow it to borrow on the open market so it would get “considerably more bang for the government’s buck”.

Reacting to Ball’s comments, Friends of the Earth director of policy and campaigns Craig Bennett said: “This rational analysis is in stark contrast to the current government’s tired fossil fuel obsession and shale gas hype.

“It is also good to hear that a Labour government would immediately allow the GIB to borrow; boosting our economy and creating the thousands of jobs in low-carbon industries that have been undermined by George Osborne.”

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