The Government’s Budget announcement today (22 June) has provoked concern from the waste and recycling, and energy industries.
Chancellor George Osborne announced a Budget which he said “ensured the burden was fairly shared” with “the richest paying the most and the vulnerable protected”. However, industry experts believe it did not set out enough measures addressing the country’s environmental issues.
Reacting to the Budget, Aldersgate Group deputy director Andrew Raingold said: “The Budget does not reflect the fact that the UK is facing an environmental crisis as well as a fiscal crisis. The Government should build on a number of positive commitments, from the creation of a Green Investment Bank to support for the carbon price, to make rapid progress in the months ahead. Urgent action and greater Government support for the environmental sector will help fuel the economic recovery, create jobs and boost tax revenues in the future.”
Osborne’s announcement of 2.5% VAT rise is “deeply regressive” said Friends of the Earth Economy campaigner Simon Bullock. “We need to build a green economy to guarantee a safe and prosperous UK. But the Chancellor has failed to take the bold decisions we so urgently need… Britain has the skills and natural resources to create a booming green technology sector that would drive the country’s economic recovery - but proper Government support is needed to make it flourish.”
Regarding possible cuts to the public sector, Plastics 2020 Challenge member Barry Turner commented: “While we understand that tough decisions need to be made in order to reduce the deficit and help the economy recover, we caution against making recycling and energy from waste an easy target for cuts in investment to balance local budgets. We have seen from experience in East Cambridgeshire, that when cuts to services are made there is a knock-on effect on recycling.” According to Turner, when cuts were made in this area, there was an immediate 2% drop in recycling rates because the local authority had to cut plastic bottle collections to save funds.
Meanwhile, Renewable Energy Association chief executive Gaynor Hartnell is calling on the Government to answer important questions regarding policy for renewable energy, which must be clarified before Friday (June 25) when the UK Renewable Energy Action Plan is due to be submitted to the European Commission. She added: “UK renewables are poised to make billions of pounds worth of investment once the Government has decided on the policy framework. Many of these decisions are urgent, having been put off for too long by the previous Government. We need prompt action to retain existing investment and unlock this huge potential for the future.”