Marches LEP reacts to Chancellor’s Spring Statement

Marches LEP reacts to Chancellor’s Spring Statement
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Published: March 23rd, 2022

Leaders at the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership – the body which drives economic growth across Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin – today welcomed the Chancellor’s decision to scrap VAT on renewable energy products. 

And they also supported moves to cut the levy on fuel by 5p/litre and increase the  National Insurance threshold by £3,000 announced in the statement this afternoon, as well as the Chancellor’s plan to cut the basic level of income tax to 19p by 2024. 

Mandy Thorn MBE, chair of the Marches LEP, gave a cautious welcome to the measures, which she said would put more money back in people’s pockets, but said that ongoing Government action was vital to support the region’s business community. 

“The move to scrap VAT on renewable energy products will help all our efforts to drive the uptake of clean, sustainable power and work towards a zero carbon economy. 

“By developing renewable technologies we can help companies drive down their energy bills, cut their emissions and protect the planet, as well as strengthening this country’s energy security so that we are no longer so fully exposed to global forces. 

“We support many of the other measures to help with the cost of living crisis announced today, including the cut to fuel duty which will help businesses cope with a steep rise in operating costs. 

“But the business sector will need continuing support as it emerges from the pandemic into a range of new challenges. Inflation today hit a 30-year high at 6.2 per cent, wage costs are rising, we are in the middle of a recruitment crisis and energy bills show little sign of easing in the short term. 

“Against this backdrop I was disappointed the Chancellor did not go further by removing VAT from energy supplies to domestic premises and reduce VAT to commercial entities.” 

Rachel Laver, Marches LEP chief executive, said the move to scrap VAT for renewables should usher in a new era of consistent policy around green technology. 

“I hope that this is the start of sustained investment in low carbon and alternative fuels which business can rely on, rather than a continuation of the stop-start policies of the past in which support around feed in tariffs and grants for installation came and went in cycles. 

“The LEP and our business support arm, the Marches Growth Hub are here to help companies move to a sustainable future and can help them access funds such as the Business Energy Efficiency Programme (BEEP) or Low Carbon Opportunities Programme (LoCOP), which can significantly lower their bills and carbon emissions, whilst improving productivity. 

“These schemes are highly successful but work most effectively against a national backdrop of consistent and continued investment in green technology.” 

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