Updated Mar 16, 2023

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Spring Budget 2023 announced

Today, 15 March 2023, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has unveiled his first budget, with certain provisions affecting energy and climate change, as well as some aspects of health and safety.

Climate change and energy

The Chancellor's speech focused mainly on growth, where domestic sustainable energy is thriving and the infrastructure is ready for net-zero energy production. To deliver this, he announced the creation of "Great British Nuclear (GBN)" which will help to bring down costs and support the building of "nuclear builds", whether on a larger, Gigawatt-scale or by introducing Small Modular Reactors, for which a competition will be launched to deliver the technology. Additionally, nuclear power will be classed as "green energy" equally with other renewables such as wind and solar, which will make it easier for nuclear energy projects to access funding across the UK.

To support energy efficiency, the chancellor also committed to extending the Climate Change Agreement scheme for another two years.

The government will also commit up to £20bn of funding for the early deployment of Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage (CCUS), which will be one of the key elements of the government's policy to deliver net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.


The provisions in relation to planning include the creation of "refocused" Investment Zones across the UK, bringing the investment into areas that "underperform economically", with the majority of the shortlisted authorities located in the North of England. With £80 million of funding provided for each English Investment Zone, local governments will be able to tailor the Investment Zone plans to meet their needs.

However, to access this offer, the plans, among other requirements, need to demonstrate how each Zone would support the UK reaching net-zero by 2050 and the government's long-term targets to protect and enhance the natural environment, and be resilient to the effects of climate change.

Health and Safety

Some measures presented in this budget cover health and safety and relate to helping disabled people get back into work whenever possible. The Chancellor announced a set of reforms, including abolishing the Work Capacity Assessment and eligibility for the health top-up in Universal Credit, which will be dealt with through the Personal Independence Payment benefit, allowing claimants to be able to try work without losing their benefits. Full details of these reforms are not yet provided.

Occupational safety was highlighted as important when bringing people back into the workforce and £400m will be contributed for mental health and musculoskeletal issues.

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