Business giants call on Chancellor to deliver a budget that builds on Paris Agreement

James Murray
clock • 3 min read

Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change urges George Osborne to "be explicit in your budget speech about the UK's ambition to implement the Paris Agreement"

Chancellor George Osborne is facing calls to ensure his budget speech highlights the historic Paris Agreement and the UK's continuing commitment to build a low carbon economy.

The Prince of Wales Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change, which represents a host of blue chip firms, including BT, EDF Energy, GlaxoSmithKline, Heathrow, Jaguar Land Rover, Kingfisher, Lloyds Banking Group, Skanska, Sky, Tesco, and Unilever, wrote to the Chancellor yesterday urging him to use the budget to underline the importance of the low carbon economy and deliver policies that will help mobilise clean technology investment.

The letter from Corporate Leaders Group deputy director Eliot Whittington argues the Paris Agreement "offers considerable opportunities as we develop a new, low-carbon economy, building on new sustainable technologies and business models that many UK companies are at the forefront of developing".

"On behalf of the members of The Prince of Wales's Corporate Leaders Group I am writing to ask you to be explicit in your budget speech about the UK's ambition to implement the Paris Agreement and the benefits that can be accrued for our economy as business and government work together to drive change," the letter states, adding that "a positive lead from government will further inspire business, investors, and the public to be buoyed by the opportunities that the Paris Agreement will bring."

Specifically, the letter calls on the chancellor to use the budget to confirm an extension of the Levy Control Framework, which manages the level of financial support available for clean energy projects; establish domestic energy efficiency as a UK investment priority; and reform the business energy efficiency tax landscape in a way that clarifies rather than weakens price signals and increases the scale of disclosure on both carbon and energy across the private sector.

The letter follows a similar move in recent days from the Aldersgate Group of businesses, which urged the Treasury to confirm this week that mandatory carbon reporting rules will be retained, as well as on-going calls from the clean energy sector for clarifications on the future of the LCF beyond 2020.

Today the Aldersgate Group issued a fresh statement calling on the Chancellor to deliver a budget that drives low carbon growth. "In a context of more sluggish economic growth forecasts but growing international momentum to tackle environmental challenges such as climate change, this Budget must be one that supports the continued growth of the UK's low carbon goods and services sector in a way that is cost effective and economically beneficial, recognising the £122bn contribution the low carbon sector already makes to the British economy," the group said.

Speaking separately, Whittington said the Paris Agreement proved there was a high level of business support for politicians who delivered more ambitious climate and energy policies.

"The unified voice of nearly 200 countries clearly called for a low-carbon revolution last December," he said. "More and more business leaders are clear that this is a change to be welcomed. Business is ready to drive the low-carbon economy in the UK but government must clearly align its intentions and help to unlock that change. The Chancellor has the power to help rewire Britain's economy and put us on a path to a thriving, prosperous low-carbon future, and we urge him to start to deploy that power in this budget."

This article is part of BusinessGreen's Road to Paris hub, hosted in association with PwC.

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