The chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to deliver his Budget next week, on Wednesday 3 March, and there are plenty of predictions circulating about what we can expect.
Of course, supporting a recovery in the economy will be the main priority. So the focus is likely to be on growth, via fuelling investment.
Winding down pandemic support schemes is also expected, as the country starts to move out of our third lockdown.
Net Zero measures expected
On the energy front, it’s anticipated we’ll see a number of new measures relating to Net Zero and the green agenda.
With the UK set to host the United Nations climate change conference COP26 in Glasgow this November, the government is keen to ensure these topics remain front of mind.
We know that many businesses also see Net Zero as a priority.
Businesses put climate crisis on par with Covid
For example, 93% of businesses we spoke to last year told us that sustainability should be a key factor in the government’s post-Covid-19 recovery plan. And in a more recent survey by Deloitte, three quarters of firms questioned said they believe the climate crisis is of similar or greater magnitude to the pandemic.
As a result, many businesses are keen to see more support around the steps they will be required to take to meet the 2050 Net Zero target. (Although more about the actual detail is expected in the government’s full Net Zero Review, due later this year.)
We expect the Chancellor to offer carrots and possibly a stick or two.
Encouraging green activity
Certainly, some new measures to encourage more green-related action or investment is expected.
The government has already confirmed some relevant tax breaks – such as extending the 100% first-year capital allowances for electric vehicles from 2021 out to 2025.
But it will be no surprise if the Chancellor announces more allowances to incentivise research and development of sustainable innovations, or the greater uptake of green technologies.
We may also see apprenticeship allowances for retraining workers in new green-economy-related roles.
Introduction of new carbon tax?
To encourage businesses to reduce their carbon footprint, it’s believed a carbon tax is under consideration.
This has been suggested by the Environmental Audit Committee, which is calling on the government to shift the tax liability onto those with the heaviest or most harmful environmental impact.
But at time when many businesses are struggling, introducing any further financial burden may well be postponed. So we’ll have to wait and see…
We’ll bring you news of the main energy-related announcements on the day, along with what these may mean for your business. So do join us again next Wednesday…