Updated Oct 28, 2021

Autumn budget announced

This autumn Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a new budget that aims to "deliver a stronger economy for the British people: stronger growth, public finances and employment" while rebuilding the economy post-pandemic.

While the majority of the provisions announced relate to borrowing, inflation, taxation, universal credit and "levelling up", there are a few announcements that might be interesting for Cedrec users in relation to the environment, energy and planning.

However, some campaigners argue that this budget had very little to offer in terms of boosting the path to net-zero, and no more detailed information was provided on the delivery of the Government's plans for cleaner heat that was announced a week ago. Also, reducing the taxes on domestic flights in the UK goes against the general efforts of cutting carbon emissions from flying and the net-zero pledges.

Investment in infrastructure and housing

The Chancellor said that there will be a significant financial support of £5.7bn to develop London-style transport across England, as well as an investment of £21bn on roads and £46bn on railways to improve journey times between cities.

£24bn will be provided to improve housing, of which £11.5bn to build up to 180,000 affordable homes, where brownfield sites will be used as a priority, and £5bn deployed to remove unsafe cladding for the "highest risk" buildings.

The Chancellor also announced £5bn of funding to improve the cycling infrastructure, the same funds will also be used to improve local minor roads.

Research and development

The Government's new target spending announced of £20bn in R&D by 2024-25 and £22bn by 2026-27, with the second target reached two years later than had been initially planned. There will also be changes to business R&D tax relief, which will only apply to domestic activities.

Plastic packaging tax

The HMRC also published a proposed revision to the new Plastic Packaging Tax, which will come into force on 1 April 2022.

The amendments will involve changes to the Finance Act 2021 to:

  • allow HMRC to make provisions to modify the timing of an import, and the meaning of import and customs formalities, using secondary legislation;
  • ensure that businesses below the specified threshold, who currently do not have a liability to register, do not have to pay the tax and this change ensures that the aim of the policy is achieved and reduces the burden of the tax on those businesses who manufacture and/or import plastic packaging below the minimum threshold;
  • provide tax reliefs for persons enjoying certain immunities and privileges, such as visiting forces and diplomats, with provision to set administrative requirements in secondary legislation;
  • transfer the obligations and entitlements of Plastic Packaging Tax group members, such as completing returns, to the representative member of that group;
  • require HMRC to notify the representative member of a Plastic Packaging Tax group of the date that applications for and modification of group treatment will take effect; and
  • change certain terms used to describe unincorporated bodies to ensure consistency throughout the legislation.

More information on this subject can be found here.