Budget benefits: why it’s the ideal time for SMEs to invest in optimising their energy
With the Chancellor’s Budget and the Government’s new Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy both revealed recently, there are a number of new funding opportunities that you need to know about. So we’ll get straight to it - here are the key changes you should be aware of this month:
The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has revealed its plans to decarbonise ‘heavy industry’ across the UK in its new Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy. The strategy includes over £1bn in funding and a number of new measures designed to help businesses in the manufacturing, construction, industrial and public sectors to decarbonise.
As part of the strategy, BEIS is working to introduce new policies that will help industrial businesses shift 20 terawatt hours of fossil-fuelled energy to low carbon sources by 2030. The government has also allocated £171 million to nine green technology projects across the UK, which will develop carbon capture and storage and hydrogen technologies. BEIS estimates that these measures will create and support around 80,000 UK jobs over the next 30 years and reduce emissions by two-thirds by 2035, compared to 2018 levels.
The Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy is likely to present a number of opportunities for businesses within eligible sectors over the coming years. You can read the full strategy, here.
Within his Budget, the Chancellor announced a new super-deduction allowance that will enable companies to reduce their tax bill by up to 25p for every £1 they invest in new ‘plant and machinery’, which could help businesses to improve their energy efficiency at a lower cost to their organisation.
While the tax allowance isn’t specifically targeted at energy efficiency improvements, ‘plant and machinery’ refers to any items that a business keeps to use within their business. There are some exceptions - such as mains water and gas systems - but savvy businesses could take advantage of the new super-deduction allowance to receive tax relief on installing electric vehicle charge points, for example, or solar panels. This means that organisations that are looking to improve their sustainability and reach net zero targets may be able to undertake carbon reduction projects at a much lower cost by claiming the allowance.
Of course, it’s important to check whether the projects you’re interested in investing in are eligible for the super-deduction allowance before you make a decision – you can view more guidance from the government, here.
With Scotland aiming to achieve net zero emissions by 2045, five years earlier than the UK target, an inquiry has been launched to explore how Scotland’s net zero target can be met through the development of renewable energy.
Glasgow is set to host the COP26 climate summit in November, which means the eyes of the world will be on Scotland’s sustainability efforts, and MPs are keen to set an example that the world can follow. The inquiry will therefore seek to identify the opportunities and challenges facing Scotland as it moves towards a low carbon future, with a focus on which technologies would best serve the country and how challenges in their development can be overcome. It will also consider how oil and gas workers can transition to jobs in the low carbon economy, plus how the UK and Scotland can work together to reach their net zero targets.
The inquiry is now open for businesses and the public to submit their views, which can be done by visiting the Scottish Affairs Committee website, here.
Boris Johnson has confirmed that climate change and biodiversity loss will be the top international priority for the UK going forward, in a new Integrated Review of UK Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy.
The Review provides an outline of the UK’s national security and international policy out to 2025. In the foreword, the Prime Minister commits to applying what has been learnt from setting our net zero target into law to international relations. He also admits that despite moves such as ending financing for overseas fossil fuel projects, there’s much more to be done to ensure the UK is taking a joined-up approach to sustainability internationally. The Review includes plans to scale up low carbon technology sectors within the UK and increase collaboration in this area, and commits to tackling climate change and biodiversity loss at the source of the issues, to prevent them from causing further problems.
To find out more about the Integrated Review, click here.
Talk to our team
If you have any questions about the changes discussed above or how they might affect your business, our team of experts is on hand to answer them. Simply call us on 0121 726 7575 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.