Industry leaders called for measures to boost investor confidence ahead of next Wednesday’s Budget.
As chancellor George Osborne puts the finishing touches to a crucial Budget, waste bosses appealed for a range of measures to boost confidence and investment in the sector.
Official figures released ahead of the Budget showed another fall in output for the waste sector in January, with a month-on-month decline of 0.2%, and a 2.2% reduction on the previous year.
Senior waste advisor with Golder Associates, Nigel Mattravers, warned the industry not to expect much from the chancellor. The waste sector had “learnt to be disappointed” by recent Budgets, he said.
Responding to recent calls for clarity over the landfill tax escalator reported by MRW, Mattravers said: “Investors need to know one way or the other: Is it going to stay at £80, or is it going to go up with RPI?”
That call was supported by Environmental Services Association economist, Jacob Hayler, who said the chancellor should confirm the £80 per tonne floor and extend it possibly to 2030.
The chancellor has come under pressure from business lobbies to radically shift government spending to boost growth. The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) called for an infrastructure capital allowance to cut tax liability on private projects, a call backed by Hayler, and for full borrowing powers for the Green Investment Bank.
Waste firm Shanks’ chief executive, Peter Dilnot, said tax incentives should be considered for investment in industrial uses for solid recovered fuel (SRF).
Dilnot said British industry was missing out on low cost energy because of the Government’s failure to recognise the treated waste product as a fuel.
“Using high grade SRF in existing coal-fed boilers would contribute significantly to the UK maintaining or improving its competitive position by reducing energy costs over time, particularly for energy-intensive businesses such as car assembly, food production and chemical manufacturing.”
Meanwhile, Charlotte Morton, chief executive at the Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association said a positive commitment by Government to a circular economy was required to provide investor confidence and build growth.
She said: “The green economy is one of the only sectors to have shown strong growth over the last few years – despite the Government. The AD industry alone could create 35,000 jobs and has huge export potential.”