Bolder action is required to meet the UK’s economic and environmental challenges


Responding to the Autumn Statement delivered by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rachel Solomon Williams, Executive Director at the Aldersgate Group, said: “This Autumn Statement takes some positive steps forward, but higher ambition and policy stability are critical if the Government is to get the economy back on track in the coming year. Ultimately, making decisions for the long term demands a commitment to implementation now, supporting the development of low-carbon industries that will drive future growth. Businesses recognise this and are acting accordingly – Government must match their ambition by building on today’s announcements and creating a supportive environment.

We welcome the announcement that capital full expensing will be made permanent, as it can drive business investment in decarbonisation – but it is not enough on its own. This urgent need for action is demonstrated in clean energy investment, where the UK has fallen from fourth to seventh in attractiveness to investors, in part due to global competition from the United States and the EU, but also a lack of consistent policy support from the Government. A comprehensive response to the US Inflation Reduction Act remains critical, as part of a clear industrial strategy which provides the UK economy with a clear direction that businesses can rely on. Funding for engineering apprenticeships is also a welcome development, but should be expanded further to include support for on-the-job learning, in order to address the green skills gap holding back the net zero transition.

Finally, it is good to see Government announcing the aim of reducing grid access delays by 90%, an absolutely critical element of delivering net zero. To ensure that we meet our climate and nature ambitions, it is vital that we see planning reform that takes a holistic approach to supporting the net zero transition, housebuilding and restoring nature.