With Glasgow's striking binmen determined to turn the city into a giant rubbish dump just as it hosts the Cop26 climate summit, there is an air of desperation about ministerial attempts to prove this country's green credentials.
In a week when the long-awaited net zero strategy made it abundantly clear that the cost of the Government's trillion pound green gamble will fall disproportionately on low income households in the form of inflation and higher taxes, we are now being asked to take a hit on our savings in the name of protecting the planet too.
As if it wasn't bad enough that households have suffered a decade of ultra-low interest rates, the Treasury wants you to do your bit for climate change by sacrificing returns even further to help fund the next round of renewable projects and greener transport.
The Chancellor claims that the first green bond from National Savings and Investments "will deliver both financial returns and environmental benefits".
Well, he might be right about the second part but only if the first bit is true, otherwise take-up will be low, and unfortunately for Rishi Sunak, it is asking a lot of yield-starved savers to accept a fixed rate of .65pc over three years, even if it means another wind farm gets built or more electric buses on the road.
In fact, in a world of dire returns, it is something of an achievement on the part of the NSI to come up with something that beats the lot, and not in a good way. It is so unattractive that it is hard to know where to start.
Even with interest rates still languishing at historic lows, a rudimentary Google search will quickly tell you that there are many better options out there.
There are numerous instant access accounts – typically the last refuge of the desperate saver – offering the same rates, and you wouldn't have to lock away your money for three long years. Or, for anyone happy to sit tight for that length of time, there are currently three-year savings accounts offering rates of between 1.8pc and 1.9pc, three times what a new green bond provides.
Even old-fashioned premium bonds, the NSI's best known product, come with an effective prize fund rate of 1pc, and that was cut last December. If that wasn't enough to make you choke on your granola and oat milk, the returns on three-year government debt are also better, with investors currently being offered a yield of .73pc.
The launch might be a useful marketing tool as Cop26 approaches but otherwise the timing is laughably bad. Retail investors aren't stupid. They know that interest rates are only going to go one from here on in, and soon, if the sudden twitchiness of Bank of England policymakers is anything to go by.
Financial markets have priced in an 80pc chance of a rate rise, which should quickly lead to a corresponding jump in savings rates and an even bigger disincentive to sign up to this gimmick.
So why would any right-minded person invest in green savings bonds? Essentially the Chancellor is betting that people are willing to sacrifice returns so they can do their bit for climate change.
No doubt it is encouraged by demand for the UK's first green sovereign bond after it was launched last month. The green gilt attracted record orders for a UK Government bond sale. But that was mostly from pension funds and they were only being asked to sacrifice a couple of basis points of yield – far less than the hit retail buyers are being asked to absorb.
Demand, if there is any to speak of, will most likely come from wealthy savers, who want to be able to say they are "doing their bit", but that's all. It's really just another form of virtue-signalling. That's why such bonds have been nicknamed "guilt-free gilts".
But most people also care about their wealth and if it doesn't increase over time, then at the very least they want to ensure it isn't eroded. The Government loves to talk about net zero but with inflation thought to be heading to 5pc, a green retail bond promises to leave savers with even less than that.
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