Rebecca Gaskill predicts the budget


AS we approach some key dates in the British politics, ICON’s Policy and Business Impacts Analyst Rebecca Gaskill shares her thoughts on the upcoming budget.

Returning Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has stated an ambitious goal: ‘To make this country the cleanest, greenest on Earth with the most far-reaching environmental programme.’

With the budget announced for the 11th March and a clear majority in the House of Commons it will be easy for the government to pass the necessary legislative changes and implement their mandate.

This is especially relevant considering the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties in Glasgow (COP 26), which will draw focus to the UK’s environmental policies.

COP26 will be an opportunity to ask global partners to mirror our 2050 net zero promise and ban the exports of plastic waste to non-OECD countries.

Dancing along the party line, Chancellor Sajid Javid has declared that his new budget will also prioritise the environment.

Based on Conservative manifesto commitments, it is reasonable to assume that a large focus for the government will be lowering energy bills and increasing energy efficiency.

The Chancellor has already proposed a new Green Energy company in London to help lower energy bills by investing £9.2 billion in energy efficiency.

Their manifesto also promised £800 million investment in carbon capture storage by the mid-2020’s.

This to be delivered alongside alternate power sources, long with a moratorium on fracking in England and a £1 billion package under the Ayrton Fund to develop affordable and accessible clean energy.

There will be new environmental goals put into place by the government.

These include a £640 million climate fund and an extra 75,000 acres of trees a year by the end of the next parliament and restoring the peatland to contribute to net-zero.

A deposit return scheme will be introduced to incentivise people to recycle plastic and glass and a new levy will be introduced to increase the proportion of recyclable plastic in packaging.

Finally, the sale of new conventional petrol and diesel cars will be phased out, hopefully with minimal impact on the public’s ability to access affordable and reliable transport.

The north of England is primed to lead the nation in decarbonisation.

According to the Institute for Public Policy Research’s Risk or Reward report, tens of thousands of jobs could be created in the north of England.

In fact, as many as 46,000 jobs could be created in the power sector alone by 2030, but the net economic benefit will be tempered as around 28,000 job losses are expected in the fossil fuel industry.

In the past, a lack of government support for infrastructure has hampered progress.

However, this will be tackled in the next budget, with £4 billion of funding set aside for flood defences and more investments expected in electric vehicle infrastructure, including a national plug in network.

Yorkshire and Lancashire-based commuters will be hopeful, if perhaps – following the “Northern Fail” fiasco – a little sceptical, with the commitment to upgrade the northern powerhouse rail and city infrastructure.

That just leaves HS2 yet to be agreed upon. The scheduled arrival is currently delayed, and fares are rising en route.

Lets hope the more recent commitments don’t suffer the same diversion.

Documents relating to the Environment Bill can be found here