Firms must be encouraged to invest in decarbonisation, says review, as IoD asks for leadership from government

The UK should be doing more to reap the economic benefits that the transition to Net Zero presents, according to MP and chair of the Net Zero Review, Chris Skidmore.

Mission Zero, his Net Zero Review, makes 129 recommendations covering areas including the greater role that business can be supported to play, making better use of infrastructure and delivering more energy efficient homes.

Skidmore urges ministers to grasp the ‘historic opportunity’, highlighting how the government’s Net Zero Strategy offers the right direction. 

“In developing this report, we have engaged with communities, economists and climate experts from across the country through more than 50 roundtables and 1800 submissions – all of which have led to the Mission Zero findings.

”My recommendations are designed to make the most of this historic opportunity, covering the length and breadth of our economy, so that people in every part of the country can reap the benefits of this both in their communities, and in their pockets.

Infrastructure needs

Chris Skidmore’s proposals include:

  • backing business – these include reviewing incentives for investment in decarbonisation, including via the tax system, and launching a Help to Grow Green campaign offering information and advice to small businesses so they can plan ahead
  • using infrastructure to unlock net zero – including developing a cross-sectoral infrastructure strategy by 2025 to support the building and adaptation for new green energy sources such as hydrogen to support the green economy

Official statistics show there are already around 400,000 jobs in low carbon businesses and their supply chains across the UK, with turnover estimated at £41.2 billion in 2020. 

Both the British Energy Security Strategy and Net Zero Strategy aim to leverage an additional £100 billion of private investment, while supporting an additional 480,000 British jobs by 2030.

Need for government leadership

The IoD has welcomed the Net Zero Review’s ambition to secure the economic benefits of the net zero transition, but notes that UK business is “on board”.

Alexandra Hall-Chen, principal policy advisor for Sustainability, said decisive government action was needed to seize the economic opportunities on offer.

“The interests of the business community will be best served by a managed transition marked by effective government leadership on, and commitment to, net zero.

“Business is on board with the necessity of the transition and is looking for guidance and leadership from government as to how to achieve it efficiently and effectively.

“As the review found, it is imperative that government reviews the incentives for business investment in net zero measures.

“Our proposal is that, through the introduction of a lower corporation tax rate for organisations that have achieved net zero compared to those that have not, the government could establish a clear business case for boardrooms to take action.”