Each household will contribute £70 to schemes to tackle climate change in developing countries before March 2015, under plans championed by Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary.
Conservative MPs were furious last night at the scale of the bill, which was unveiled as George Osborne prepares to announce a series of tax rises and spending cuts in today’s Autumn Statement.
Lord Lawson of Blaby, a former Chancellor, also criticised the “appalling waste of money” at a time when household budgets are already squeezed.
Senior Conservatives were also dismayed at the timing of the announcement, but Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, hailed the cash as “fantastic news”.
The disclosure is sure to provoke anger among hard-pressed families, who increasingly see foreign aid and green energy as among the lowest priorities for Government spending in the current financial climate.