Budget 2010 announcements relevant to Defra and the third sector.

On the 24th March 2010, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alastair Darling, announced the Budget 2010

The budget contrained a number of announcements relevant to the third sector.  Full details are set out on this page of the Office of the Third Sector’s website.  Key proposals include the development of a Social Investment Wholesale Bank, support for Social Impact Bond pilots, a consultation on options to make sure banks make an appropriate contribution to community lenders and a number of business support schemes to SMEs including social enterprises. 

Full details of the budget can be found on the HMT website.  The announcements with specific relevance to Defra’s remit are: 

The Chancellor has announced a continuation of the landfill tax escalator of £8/tonne in April 2014. The landfill tax rate for standard-rated wastes will be £80/tonne for the 2014/15 financial year and he has also announced that this will not reduce in future years in order to provide certainty for business investment. Encouraging the diversion of waste from landfill is a key plank of the government’s Waste Strategy.  As well as encouraging better resource efficiency, the landfill tax helps in the achievement of the UK’s carbon budgets by reducing methane emissions from landfill.

It was announced that the Government will publish a report on mutualisation, setting out its approach to social assets and its ambition for public authorities to think more creatively about ways of maximising social value amongst their communities. It includes the example of the recently announced move to mutual status for British Waterways in England and Wales. The Reforming Arms Length Bodies report which was published alongside Budget announced the abolition (subject to consultation and legislation) of the Committee on Agricultural Valuations, a Defra Advisory NDPB.

A ‘Strategy for National Infrastructure’, was published today alongside the Budget which provides an overview of the current state of the UK’s infrastructure, identifies overarching challenges and opportunities, and outlines areas for action including an intention to create a Green Investment Bank. The Government intends to create a Green Investment Bank, with a mandate to invest in low-carbon infrastructure starting by investing up to £1 billion from the sale of infrastructure related assets and will seek to match this with at least £1 billion of private sector investment. Energy and transport are the main targeted areas of infrastructure.

The draft Animal Health Bill published in January 2010 proposes steps to share responsibility for animal health within the farming sector, helping to reduce the impact and cost of future outbreaks. The Government will explore the use of financial incentives and cost-sharing to help bring about changes in farm management practices, and will introduce the necessary measures through a future Finance Bill or other appropriate future legislation.

The Government will review the farming sector’s action plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2012, to determine whether a voluntary approach will deliver the necessary reductions or whether further policies are required.

The Budget confirmed that in the context of the next Spending Review, the Government will give further consideration to new ways of funding flood and coastal erosion risk management.

Government will introduce a reduced pollution certificate (RPC) scheme for Heavy Goods Vehicles meeting Euro VI emission standards. This will allow a discount on vehicle excise duty for these vehicles for a period of up to 5 years. Reducing pollution from HGVs will make an important contribution to achieving air quality improvements in UK towns and cities and reward hauliers for environmental responsible action.

It was also announced that company car tax will be halved for ultra low carbon vehicles (and on the equivalent tax for vans) for 5 years. These vehicles are generally hybrid or electric vehicles which are beneficial in both air quality and climate change terms as they tend to have very low or even zero emissions of both CO2 and other pollutants. Such an incentive should help to incentivise the development of these technologies and support UK Green jobs.

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One Comment

  1. Posted 21 June, 2010 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    It will be interesting to see if tomorrow’s budget (22 May) will include consideration of the agricultural sector and takes into account the important impact of incentives to improving land management and the environment/countryside.

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