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Budget offers little for waste sector

A sustainable business group said there is little in the Budget for green industries.

George Osborne

The Aldersgate Group, which is associated with waste firms Biffa, Veolia and Viridor, said the chancellor’s budget should have provided a clear regulatory framework to drive investment in sustainable business “rather than tax breaks for shale gas”.

Committing the Government to support for nuclear, carbon capture and shale energy projects, George Osborne said “creating a low carbon economy must be done in a way that creates jobs, not costs them.”

In his fourth Budget Osborne was again forced to downgrade economic growth forecasts, cutting predicted growth for 2013 to 0.6% from the previous forecast of 1.2%.

The chancellor ignored calls from investors, waste leaders and councils - as reported by MRW - for clarity on the landfill tax escalator beyond 2014/15, with confirmation only of the £8 rise to £80 a tonne from next April.

The operators’ contribution cap on the Landfill Communities Fund will rise to 6.8% of annual tax liability as a result of a continued freeze on the fund at £78.1m. Future decisions on the fund will take into account the levels of unspent funds.

Energy intensive industries, such as papermaking, will continue to benefit from support to compensate for the costs of the Carbon Price Floor (CPF) into 2015/16. However there was no announcement on reassessing the CPF, as called for by the Confederation of Paper Industries.

Overall, the Treasury said, the Budget would raise the proportion of revenue raised from environmental taxes from 0.5% to 0.8% over this Parliament.

Osborne announced a cut in corporation tax from 21% to 20% in 2015, hailing the “lowest business tax of any major economy in the world”.

He also introduced a £2,000 Employment Allowance to cut in National Insurance contributions for employers, aimed at helping small businesses and create jobs.

Spending by Government departments, including Defra, will be cut by a further 1% a year over the next two years.

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