Measures in the July 2010 budget affecting science, innovation and the environment

Yesterday’s budget included some policy changes which could impact science, the environment and innovation.

A relatively long section on a “low carbon economy” included a pledge “to make this the greenest government ever.” The document also stated that order to move towards a secure low carbon economy, the UK needs “£200 billion of investment to 2020”, which would require a “reform of the energy market and action to attract additional private sector funding.”

More specifically, the budget outlined that a report will be published in the autumn to reform the climate change levy in order to “provide more certainty and support to the carbon price”, setting a provisional date of 2011 for relevant legislation. The government has also pledged to “help individuals invest in home energy efficiency improvements that can pay for themselves from the savings in energy bills.”

On the subject of oil and fuel duties, the case is being considered for introducing a fuel duty discount in remote rural areas, including a possible pilot scheme in Scotland. Following an assessment by the Office for Budget Responsibility on the effect of oil price fluctuations on the public finances, the government will consider options for the design of a “fair fuel stabiliser.” Furthermore, the government is considering changing the aviation tax system to a per-plane rather than per-passenger duty, which could “encourage fuller planes.”

Finally, regarding business innovation, a consultation with business will be conducted in autumn 2010 to “review the taxation of Intellectual Property and the support R&D tax credits provide for innovation.”

The full budget can be read here.