BUDGET 2013: Chancellor cuts DECC and Defra spending

In today's budget the Chancellor George Osborne has announced spending cuts across Government departments, including the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), to raise £3bn for future infrastructure projects.

Osborne has told DECC that it will have to deliver a 1% cut to its budgets in 2013-14 and 2014-15 on top of last year’s reductions when the Chancellor slashed all department budgets by around 3% except for the Cabinet Office.

The projected cuts will cause concern amongst those in the green sector, while industry’s looking to grow through new business, such as the construction sector, will welcome the extra capital towards infrastructure projects.

However, the UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC) urged the Chancellor to use the Budget to demonstrate the Coalition’s commitment to energy efficiency as a key driver of green growth.

The cut in DECC’s budget will be seen as a hinderance by the UK-GBC, who has also called for an end to the uncertainty over zero carbon homes and its commitment to boosting the Green Deal – the Government’s flagship energy efficiency policy.

The Government has also announced that it will accept 81 recommendations from Lord Heseltine’s ‘No Stone Unturned’ briefing, which the renewables sector has welcomed.

Lord Heseltine’s brief recommended that the Government needs “to set out a definitive and unambiguous energy policy, including the supporting financial regime, to give the sector the certainty to invest.”

The Renewable Energy Association (REA) is keen to see recognition by the Chancellor that renewable energy projects are ‘shovel ready’ and have a lead role to play in driving jobs and growth.

REA Chief Executive Gaynor Hartnell said: “Lord Heseltine understands strong energy investments will underpin successful economic growth – and he sensibly recommended that Government seeks to boost long-term certainty for investors.

“After conflict with DECC on energy policy, the Chancellor has an important role to play to establish confidence in a more consistent and supportive political landscape.”

Leigh Stringer

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