British Glass reflects on a week of political announcements

 

With Theresa May’s address to the CBI conference and the Chancellor’s autumn statement to Parliament, there’s been a lot for business to take in over the last week. British Glass reflects here on some of the key points for the glass industry.

 

On carbon price support

…the government confirms it is maintaining the cap on Carbon Price Support rates at £18 t/CO2, uprating this with inflation in 2020-21. The government will continue to consider the appropriate mechanism for determining the carbon price in the 2020s.

 

British Glass Environment, Health and Safety Advisor Jenni Richards said:

“The Carbon Price Support, a tax levied on electricity producers and passed on to users via bills, is already at £18 per tonne of carbon – which adds around £10 per MWh to electricity bills. The UK is the only EU country with a carbon tax to support the EU ETS price of carbon, and UK industry has continually advised it should be scrapped. The announcement that it is remaining, be that capped at the current rate, is disappointing. Although with uncertainty surrounding BREXIT and a possible abrupt end to obligations such as the EU ETS, the continued cap is comforting in that is suggests this price is not expected to rise further.”

 

On regional productivity and local infrastructure

…the British Business Bank will make its first investments from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund in early 2017 to support local SMEs and its first investments from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund shortly after.

…£1.8 billion to Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) across England through a third round of Growth Deals. £556 million of this will go to the North of England, £392 million to LEPs in the midlands, £151 million to the east of England, £492 million to London and the south east, and £191 million to the south west… This funding of local infrastructure will improve transport connections, unlock house building, boost skills, and enhance digital connectivity.

 

British Glass Chief Executive Dave Dalton said:

“It’s encouraging to see that, under the newly formed cabinet, the chancellor is re-stating the promise to invest in the northern economy and manufacturing through backing the Northern Powerhouse. This, coupled with a stronger emphasis on devolved autonomy, regional control at city-area level and support to the LEPs should inspire confidence, and it looks as if we might now have the right ingredients to stimulate the desired growth in manufacturing output. This represents a good opportunity for the glass sector.”

 

On science, research and innovation

…£4.7 billion to enhance the UK’s position as a world leader in science and innovation.

… encourage private investment with £400 million from the British Business Bank to unlock £1 billion of new investment in innovative firms planning to scale up, and a doubling of capacity to support exporters through UK Export Finance.

…review the tax environment for R&D to look at ways to build on the introduction of the ‘above the line’ R&D tax credit to make the UK an even more competitive place to do R&D.

…National Productivity Investment Fund will… build on existing plans for major investment over this Parliament, including… prioritising science and innovation spending. The NPIF will take total spending on housing, economic infrastructure, and R&D to £170 billion over the next 5 years.

 

British Glass Director Malcolm Glendenning said:

“This is very welcome support for the UK science and technology community, helping to drive new science and engineering – and translate ideas into business. The support also has potential to help drive decarbonisation and increased sustainability for the glass industry. The amazing possibilities offered by novel glass systems, enabled by investment from such R&D commitment, could soon begin to address a range of societies needs from health care to energy generation and storage. New enterprise developed through this will drive job creation, economic growth and environmental security."

 

On house building

… a new Housing Infrastructure Fund of £2.3 billion by 2020-21, funded by the National Productivity Investment Fund and allocated to local government on a competitive basis, will provide infrastructure targeted at unlocking new private house building in the areas where housing need is greatest. This will deliver up to 100,000 new homes.

 

… The NPIF will provide an additional £1.4 billion to deliver an additional 40,000 housing starts by 2020-21. 

…the government will invest £1.7 billion by 2020-21 through the NPIF to speed up house building on public sector land in England through partnerships with private sector developers.

 

British Glass Director Nick Kirk said:

“We welcome stimulus for housebuilding and hope this will be seized as an opportunity to improve the domestic building stock with energy efficient glazing units that will in turn save energy for the householders and reduce domestic CO2 emissions. However, our optimism is cautious in terms of the flat glass demand because the combined effect of other housing policies may well be a small net fall in residential investment growth and also because, in light of the overall economic forecast, commercial construction may be sluggish.”

 

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On average, every family in
the UK uses around 330 glass
bottles and jars each year.


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