IOM3 responds to Government Autumn Statement
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has today (17 November 2022) outlined the Government’s Autumn Statement setting out the government’s priorities to addresses the current cost of living and energy crisis.
The Chancellor reinforced reducing carbon emissions throughout, whilst referencing his commitment to the Glasgow climate pact to reduce emissions by 68% before 2030.
IOM3 CEO Dr Colin Church FIMMM CEnv, said, ‘Despite the Government’s Autumn Statement being against a challenging backdrop, it’s encouraging, and in all our interests, to see a clear commitment to reducing carbon emissions. However, further details around how these targets will be reviewed and met, would surely help to ensure any net-zero goals are achieved.’
A focus on energy efficiency and the role it plays in reducing emissions and energy security is encouraging. This is particularly welcome considering the new national ambition to reduce energy consumption from buildings and industry by 15% by 2030 as well as the launch of a new energy efficiency taskforce. Having said that, the new £6bln funding scheme will be made available from 2025, which will be outside of this parliament.
The Chancellor confirmed details of an energy price guarantee for homes and a new approach to the energy bill relief scheme for businesses. The government will continue to secure energy security through nuclear power, including Sizewell C which is subject to final agreement and supporting clean renewables. Details around the latter weren’t as clear unfortunately.
Aligning with the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecast that half of all new cars will be electric vehicles (EVs) from 2025, it was announced that tax breaks will end with Vehicle Excise Duty on electric cars, vans and motorcycles set to be introduced from April 2025.
Jeremy Hunt acknowledged that the UK needs to be better at turning world class innovation into world class technologies which was highlighted in the IOM3 Advanced Materials call for evidence submission earlier this year.
It was announced that the Government Chief Scientific Adviser and National Technology Officer, Sir Patrick Vallance, will be tasked to lead on advising how the UK can better regulate emerging technologies, with the aim of enabling their rapid and safe introduction.
Tariff suspensions will remove fees on over 100 goods for two years to help put downward pressure on costs for UK producers. The measure will remove tariffs as high as 18% on goods ranging from aluminium frames used by UK bicycle manufacturers to ingredients used by UK food producers.
Public spending on R&D will increase to £20bln a year by 2024-25, a cash increase of around a third compared to 2021-22. This increase will help drive UK innovation and in turn generate economic and social benefits to meet net-zero targets.
The independent OBR’s forecasts showed a return to 0.7% GNI, which was confirmed by Parliament in 2021, have not been met. Despite this, IOM3 hopes the UK will remain a champion for international development as well as a leading donor to these sustainable projects.