While George Osborne, announced support for carbon capture and storage (CCS), shale gas and new high energy-using industries in Budget 2013 on 20th March, several in the industry have already pointed out that support for the low carbon sector did not go far enough. Indeed, low carbon business provided one third of all UK growth between 2011 and 2012, with predictions equally strong for the coming years.
Although, the chancellor confirmed further spending on infrastructure projects, capital spending is still due to fall back in the next few years. Positively, however, Osborne announced support for two major carbon capture and storage projects; representing the next step in the £1bn CCS commercialisation programme. He also announced a new tax regime to promote early investment in shale gas, which was referred to as a futuristic product.
From a wider business perspective, there will also be tax incentives for the purchase of ultralow carbon vehicles, as well as increases in capital allowances for energy and water efficient technologies. Tax relief will continue for high energy-consuming industries and, for the first time, industrial processes in the metallurgical, mineralogical and ceramics industry will be exempted from carbon taxes.
Ultimately, much of what was expected has been announced but there is still a sense of disappointment, with many in the environment industry feeling that more could have been done to support the UK’s low carbon future.
To discuss how the Budget announcement might affect your business and communications strategies going forward, please contact Gill Holtom on 01926 776 900.