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    Jeremy Corbyn speaks on stage after he is announced as the new leader of The Labour Party during the Labour Party Leadership Conference in London, Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015. Corbyn will now lead Britain's main opposition party.

    UK Labour Leader Grills Cameron on Air Pollution

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    British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn stated that half a million people would die because of UK government’s failure to comply with international law on air pollution.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn grilled Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday over air pollution that he claimed cost the United Kingdom’s economy an annual equivalent of $28.1 billion and was on track to kill half a million people.

    "Could the prime minister tell the House how many people will die from respiratory disease as a result of air pollution before this country meets its legal obligations on air quality by 2025," Corbyn asked at Prime Minister’s Questions at parliament.

    Cameron, who said he did not have exact figures available, stressed that new regulations on diesel engines and steady de-carbonization of the country’s power sector were needed to ensure progress on air quality.

    "The sad truth is that half a million people would die because of this country’s failure to comply with international law on air pollution. Perhaps you could answer another question: how much does air pollution cost our economy every year," the Labour leader pressed.

    Cameron acknowledged that "of course it costs our economy billions," but maintained that his Conservative Party government’s efforts at reducing carbon by 85 percent in electricity would deliver "one of the best green records anywhere in the world" between 1990 and 2030.

    "Mr. Speaker, the Royal College of Physicians estimates that air pollution costs our economy 20 billion pounds [$28.1 billion] per year. The failure to deal with air pollution is killing people…Why can’t the prime minister hurry up action to make us comply with international law and above all help the people of this country," Corbyn continued.

    Cameron responded by reminding it was his party that passed the Clean Air Act in 1956 to address London’s challenges with smog, which in turn influenced the 1968 act.

    He expressed confidence that the British economy was strong enough to pursue further action, including through phasing out coal-powered stations and providing so-called clean air zones.

    Cameron’s administration is accused by environmental groups of cutting subsidies for renewable energy firms and giving substantial tax breaks and funding of the oil industry.

    Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced later on Wednesday major tax cuts for the oil and gas industry along with an effective abolition of the petroleum revenue tax.

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    air pollution, Jeremy Corbyn, David Cameron, United Kingdom
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