Renewable energy and green infrastructure
An increase in funding of £4.5bn has been allocated to ‘help unlock private investment in strategic manufacturing sectors’, this is scheduled to start in 2025-26 and last for five years. Within this package of promised investment, a significant proportion is allocated to the development of green technologies and renewable/sustainable sectors.
The Chancellor outlined that:
- £2bn would be made available to the automotive sector to support the manufacturing and development of zero emission vehicles, their batteries and supply chain;
- £975m is being made available for the aerospace sector to support the development of energy efficient and zero-carbon aircraft technology;
- £520m is being made available for life sciences to build resilience for future health emergencies;
- £185m has been allocated from the £6 billion announced at the 2022 Autumn Statement to the Industrial Energy Transformation Fund (IETF) to support industrial sites invest in more energy efficient and low-carbon technologies;
- £300m a year will be distributed by the government to businesses in tax relief for meeting energy efficiency targets under the new six-year Climate Change Agreement scheme which starts from 2025; and
- Expanded VAT relief will be available on the installation of energy-saving materials in residential buildings.
In addition to these policies the government announced a £960 million Green Industries Growth Accelerator (GIGA) to support investments in manufacturing capabilities for the clean energy sectors where the UK can gain the clearest strengths.
The sectors outlined include Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS), hydrogen energy, offshore wind, electricity networks, and nuclear power. GIGA has been designed to help facilitate the UK to transition to net zero.
Arts and culture
The chancellor emphasised the government’s commitment to supporting the UK’s creative industries, which have consistently outpaced the broader economy in recent years. The statement outlined various measures to support this sector: enhanced tax incentives for visual effects, increase funding for film and high-end TV production, and a review of evidence on public investment in research and development spending for the creative industries.
The Audio-Visual Expenditure Credit will be increased over time and animated feature films will become eligible for a 5% uplift in this relief. There will be an additional £2.1m spent on the British Film Commission and the British Film Institute Certification Unit.
Under the scope of social sustainability, improving the access and support to re-enter work was a key theme.
- All eligible working parents in England will have access to 30 hours of free childcare per week for 38 weeks per year, with children from the age of nine months until they start school.
- The Back to Work Plan includes investment of £1.3 billion over the next five years to deliver an expansion of work and health support to the long-term sick and disabled.
The chancellor also committed £795 million over the next five years to tackle the mental health problems and support people to remain in or return to work, providing support for an additional half a million people over five years. He also re-emphasised the government policy outlined by Rishi Sunak to make a ‘smoke-free’ generation by making it an offence for anyone born on or after 1 January 2009 to be sold tobacco products.