18 November, 2023
Daily Express, by Sam Richards


We all feel the consequences of high inflation, high interest rates and high energy bills in our pockets; we see it on the high street every day.

That’s why in the upcoming Autumn Statement, the Chancellor needs to be laser focused on those areas that will give the economy the maximum possible adrenaline boost; on where we can get the biggest bang for our buck.

Fortunately, one of the best ways to do this would be for the Chancellor to do something he’s already said he wants to do.
Delivering the Spring Budget in March he announced a new policy of “full expensing.”

This allows businesses to deduct the cost of any investments they make straight away from their corporation tax bill, rather than over a number of years.

At a stroke Jeremy Hunt delivered a huge £10bn tax cut to businesses, making life easier for firms who invest in new job creating plants and machinery.

It means firms can get the same level of relief on buying a huge piece of kit as they do from buying a box of biros.
This allowed Britain to steal a march on our European competitors by making us the only major European country with such a generous policy.

But the measure announced in March is only temporary for the next three years - ending in 2026. Even with talk that the Autumn Statement will extend this until 2029, this still does not go far enough and will not give businesses the certainty or confidence they need to invest for the long-term.

The temporary nature of the policy is not the only problem.

Some crucial job creating green tech, such as wind turbines, only get 50 percent because they’re known as ‘long-lived assets’. Perversely, this is significantly less than what is available to oil and gas firms.
If Mr Hunt really wants to go for growth, he should make full expensing permanent for all and level the playing field for those firms building the clean secure sources of energy.

But to unleash Britain’s full potential we need to look beyond tax cuts, as helpful as these will be for turbocharging our sluggish economy.
The reality is ministers need to attack head on the root cause of our stagnating economy.

Whether it is the railways and roads we need to connect our towns and cities, the homes we need to give young people a chance to get on the housing ladder, or the wind turbines and solar farms that will deliver the clean domestic energy to power the growth, our creaking and outdated planning system is holding Britain back.

If we want to see the growth that will deliver the jobs we all want to see created, the Government must act now before Britain is left behind.

Last month the National Infrastructure Committee revealed that building major projects such as new roads, railway lines and new nuclear plants is two-thirds slower than it was just a few years ago.
The Commission outlined a host of measures that would cut the time it takes to get spades in the ground on new job creating infrastructure projects.

Just one of the many things in the report that the Government should adopt in order to speed up the building of clean energy schemes is the introduction of Clean Power Zones.

These zones, which we’ve been championing at Britain Remade, would be located in areas where building new sources of renewable energy would have the least environmental impact so would benefit from fast-track approvals and less red tape.
With these measures we’ll see more well paid jobs created, more sources of secure domestic energy built and energy bills cut for millions of people who are still feeling the pain of the cost of living crisis.

Next Wednesday the Chancellor should seize the opportunity before him and unleash Britain’s full potential.