Hunt Reveals the UK's Growth Strategy in the Autumn Statement
Jeremy Hunt has outlined the Government's three growth priorities.
During yesterday's (17th November) Autumn Statement, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt revealed measures to "boost growth and productivity" across three main areas; energy, infrastructure and innovation.
Hunt said that stronger economic growth requires a long-term plan and a commitment to seeing it through. In his speech to the House of Commons, Hunt explained there are no quick fixes to the UK's challenges.
The Chancellor said,
"The government will ensure that sectors which have the most potential for growth - such as digital, green technology and life sciences - will be supported through measures to reduce unnecessary regulation and boost innovation and growth."
Hunt reassured listeners that provisions to meet a 68 per cent reduction in our emissions by 2030 would continue to be put in place despite the announcement of the UK recession.
"With the existential vulnerability that we face, now would be the wrong time to step back from our international climate responsibilities. Despite economic pressures, we remain fully committed to the Glasgow Climate Pact agreed at Cop26,"
He pointed out that the UK will be spending an extra 150 billion pounds this year compared to pre-pandemic levels. Hunt then revisited that in 2019 a third of global emissions came from energy supply. He then emphasised that radical action and a change of approach are now required or, in Jeremy Hunt's words, "we will both bankrupt the country and harm our planet."
Energy independence and energy efficiency are a priority.
Concerning energy efficiency, Hunt spoke of the importance of reducing demand and climate impact as much as possible. He commended the UK's growing production of renewable energy but explained, "we need to go even further with a major acceleration of homegrown technologies." Reaffirming the collective need to power our future and move closer to net zero.
He addressed the speaker by stating "that energy efficiency is just as important." Hunt then set the country a new national ambition: by 2030, the country will need to reduce energy consumption within buildings and industry by 15%. He believes that reducing demand by this percentage will, based on today's prices, make a 28 billion pounds saving from our national energy bill.
The Government had already planned to invest in energy efficiency at a total of 6.6 billion, but today Hunt pledged a further 6 billion of funding for 2025. Doubling such an investment is to support and help deliver the earlier set ambition. The business and energy secretary will publish further details on an energy efficiency task force in the coming months.
As a former entrepreneur, Hunt explained he wants to turn Britain into the world's next Silicon Valley, pledging a hub of innovation based on the UK's creativity and entrepreneurs.
Indeed, he said it would be a profound mistake" to cut the Government's research and development budget and pledged that funding will be protected and increase to 20 billion by 2024-25.
He addressed the investment zones announced in the prior-Mini Budget and said they would remain. Hunt explained that they would be more targeted and centred on universities in "left behind areas" to help build growth clusters, with further announcements to follow.
"Smart regulatory reform can spark investment" was another of Hunt's assertions, an important statement concerning how the UK will tackle its economic and environmental challenges.