The Government’s green agenda was unveiled today as Chancellor Alistair Darling presented the 2010 Budget.
Acknowledging its fundamental role in sustaining the transition to a low-carbon economy, the Government will provide for a £2bn investment fund to support low-carbon industries (half of this fund will come from the sale of infrastructure-related assets, the other half from the private sector) and will create a Green Investment Bank.
The idea has met wide acceptance, but some fear most of the money will be given to big companies and larger industries.
Gordon Edge, RenewableUK director of economics and markets, said: “The green bank is a nice idea, and we welcome it. But it will work only if it represents a catalyst for further investment.”
Help to businesses that want to commercialize low-carbon technologies, the halving of the car tax for manufacturers of ultra-low carbon vehicles and a £60m investment in UK ports to boost off-shore wind projects are other measures included in the Budget.
Edge commented: “We are pleased that the Government has taken this on board. This investment will enable the UK to compete with established ports in Europe involved in offshore wind farm deployment. It is smart money well pledged.”
Further steps will be taken over the next year, in a bid to reform the energy market.
CBI director-general Richard Lambert said the announced measured are all steps in the right direction. He then continued: “But time is of the essence, and we need to see decisive action by the end of the year to convince companies to locate large-scale, low-carbon investments in the UK.”
He added: “It is disappointing that the Government is pressing ahead and increasing the energy tax on manufacturing by £50m when it should be focusing on how manufacturers can be a part of a low-carbon economy.”