The UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, delivered his Autumn Statement in Westminster last week (23 November) to mixed reactions from the waste and resources industry. Whilst the statement was criticised for failing to mention climate change or renewable energy, the recognition of waste as one of six priority areas for infrastructure development was welcomed.
In his first statement since taking over as Chancellor in July, Philip Hammond said the government accepted that economic infrastructure, which includes transport, energy, flood defences, water, waste, and digital communications, is crucial for the economy and for people’s daily lives.
The government says it has put infrastructure at the heart of its economic strategy and has set up the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) to provide expert advice on the country’s strategic infrastructure needs and independent recommendations on how to meet them. The Autumn statement announced that annual central government investment in economic infrastructure will increase by almost 60 per cent from £14 billion in 2016-17 to £22 billion in 2020-21.
Philip Hammond also announced that a further £390m of funding will be invested to support ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs), renewable fuels, and connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs).
The Autumn statement also reaffirmed the measure set out in the 2016 Spring Budget to amend the definition of ‘taxable disposal’ for Landfill Tax purposes. Earlier this year the government consulted on proposals to reform Landfill Tax legislation following challenge about the uncertainty on what constitutes a taxable disposal. The changes, which will come into effect from 1 April 2017, are aimed at clarifying the areas of uncertainty that have led to litigation. A set of narrowly defined exceptions will be included, consistent with the activities that are not currently taxable.