IEMA reacts to 2017 autumn budget

22nd November 2017


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Philip Hammond today committed £44bn of capital funding, loans and guarantees to help alleviate the UK’s housing crisis in his autumn budget at the House of Commons.

The chancellor also outlined how he wants Britain to be a “world leader in tackling the scourge of plastic littering our planet and our oceans”, saying he will investigate how the tax system and charges on single-use plastic items can reduce waste.

However, there was no mention of a diesel scrappage scheme to reduce emissions from the UK’s most polluting vehicles, while a freeze on fuel duty will do nothing to improve the country’s air quality.

IEMA chief policy advisor, Martin Baxter, gives his reaction to the budget:

Home Building in the UK

“The investment and drivers to stimulate the building of new homes on a scale not seen since the 1970s will no doubt please many, and it is vastly important. However, like the chancellor said, this is a complex issue with ‘no single magic bullet’, so given the volume of land this will need, we must establish how this will stack up against government’s plan to enhance the UK’s natural capital. What will this mean for our ecosystem services and biodiversity net gain when the aim is to build 300,000 new homes each year? Right now, that is unclear.”

Fuel Duty Freeze

“There seems to be some ill-alignment between the freeze on fuel duty and the ambitions to improve air quality in towns and cities. This is a missed opportunity to give some long-term direction on reducing air pollution – disappointing.”

Carbon Pricing

“The chancellor has retained the carbon price as it is, stating it is believed to be ‘at the right level’. However, it is not clear how maintaining this floor price will help the UK meet the challenge of reducing emissions in line with keeping warming down to a 1.5˚C target as set by the Paris Accord.”

Plastics

“We welcome the focus on single use plastics and their impact on oceans – this is long overdue and the taxes and charges will reduce their use, as evidenced by the reduction in plastic bags since the mandatory 5p charge was introduced in 2015.”

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