Budget: green groups urge £33bn annual investment to meet UK’s net-zero target

9th March 2020 | Commercial Energy

Before Sajid Javid resigned on Chancellor at last month’s cabinet reshuffle, he had promised a “Green Budget”. His plans were reported to contain extended subsidy and grant packages for individuals and businesses looking to purchase electric vehicles (EVs): new mandatory energy efficiency targets for social housing, schools and hospitals: fresh funding for retrofitting energy efficiency measures cash incentives for those seeking to remove gas boilers and install rooftop solar on homes.

Javid’s resignation threw certainty around thee measures into doubt – but, given that Sunak has experience in both the finance (Goldman Sachs, The Children’s Investment Fund Management) and green policy (the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee) fields, hope remains that a “green” budget may still come to fruition.

Net zero target

The biggest cause for green economy uncertainty at present is not Sunak’s appointment but the delay to the Government’s long-awaited 30-year National Infrastructure Strategy (NIS). It was confirmed late last week that the £100bn plan – which will include long-term plans on climate adaptation and mitigation for all major water, energy and transport infrastructure in the UK – will be pushed back yet again.

Treasury sources claim the delay will help Sunak and his team better align with the UK’s net-zero target. But with the budget two days away and with COP26 now likely to take place before the NIS is completed, several green groups are voicing concerns that policy action will not be sufficient to upscale domestic net-zero investment holistically, or to urge other nations to follow suit. Here, edie rounds up the big-ticket items that major players across the UK’s green economy would like to see included in the Budget:

  • IPR: a long-term £33bn-per-year pledge
  • Greenpeace: 5% of GDP earmarked annually
  • Friends of the Earth: Cuts to roads funding
  • SolarCentury: Energy storage certainty and an end to fossil fuel subsidies

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