Tag Archives: George Osborne

Department of Energy & Climate Change announces new consultation on CRC

By David Bicknell

In a press release today, the Department of Energy & Climate Change has announced a consultation on simplifying the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency scheme.

DECC says that participants will see their administrative costs cut by almost two-thirds, equating to around £330 million of savings up to 2030.

CRC is a mandatory UK-wide trading  scheme covering large business and public sector organisation, who produce 12% of UK carbon emissions. It requires businesses to report on and pay a tax on energy used, and ranks businesses in a performance league table which provides a further reputational incentive to improve their energy efficiency.

Following Chancellor George Osborne’s criticism of the scheme’s complexity in last week’s Budget, DECC now says businesses will now have the opportunity to comment on Government’s proposals. 

The simplified package proposed is aimed at retaining the energy-saving and reputational benefits of the CRC, whilst reducing the bureaucracy of taking part.

Secretary of State Ed Davey said:

“We have listened to businesses’ concerns about the CRC and have set out proposals to radically cut down on ‘red tape’ to save businesses money. The benefits of the scheme are clear though. It will deliver substantial carbon savings helping us to meet carbon budgets, and it encourages businesses to take action to improve their energy efficiency”.

DECC says the simplified package will include:

  • A shortening of the CRC qualification process.
  • Reducing the number of fuels covered by CRC from 29 to 4.
  • Reducing the amount of reporting required by businesses.
  • Reducing the length of time participants will have to keep records.
  • Removing the requirement on facilities covered by Climate Change Agreement or EU Emissions Trading System installations to purchase CRC allowances. 
  • Adopting new emissions factors for the CRC which will align it with Greenhouse Gas reporting processes.
  • Removing the detailed metrics of the Performance League Table from legislation and placing them in government guidance.

The formal consultation will run for twelve weeks, with the Government planning to amend the legislation for CRC by April 2013.

Consultation on a simplified CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme

Osborne’s Budget speech may provide update on Coalition’s mutuals plans

By David Bicknell

Will Wednesday’s Budget bring further news on the Coalition’s plans and prospects for public sector mutuals?

Yesterday’s Independent believes it might. An article by Business Editor James Ashton suggests that Chancellor George Osborne  is likely to “talk up the progress made in Whitehall reforms” in his Budget statement.

It argues that “thousands of civil servants will be transferred into the private sector under a blueprint to shake up Whitehall that will be unveiled next month.”

Ashton suggests that new recommendations on spin-outs are due to be outlined  in a report by Stephen Kelly, the Cabinet Office’s Crown Commercial Representative.

The report is expected to say that “there are numerous government operations that could be potentially commercialised, either through forging partnerships with outside firms or seeking capital injections.”

Related Link

Stephen Kelly – the man at the coal face of the Big Society

Co-operative and mutuals membership up 25% since credit crunch – now close to 10m

By David Bicknell

The Co-operative sector has grown by more than 25% since the credit crunch, with membership of co-operatives now close to 10m. Turnover in 2o10 was over £16bn, according to a report in the Observer.

The article says that the annual report from Co-operatives UK, to be published this week, will show that as well as  big players such as the John Lewis Partnership and the Co-operative Group performing strongly, a thriving new generation of smaller, grassroots organisations has sprung up.

The report also refers to efforts by some MPs to persuade Chancellor George Osborne to consider a mutual model for bailed-out bank Northern Rock, which Osborne is expected to put up for sale before the end of the year.

Public Services White Paper Delayed until May

By David Bicknell

Earlier in the week, I wondered whether we would hear anything in the Budget that night offer some clues as to how mutualisation might develop, given that there is much anticipation from interested parties.

Well, we didn’t hear anything from George Osborne. And the reason for that is it looks as if the proposed White Paper on Public Services due to coincide with the Budget has been delayed until after the local elections on 5th May.

There’s some more background on the delay here

The suggestion is that there is a continuing debate over  how the breaking up of public services – an industry valued at an estimated £79bn – will benefit service users, the taxpayer, and employees. Another theory put forward – but yet to be confirmed – is that the White Paper will lean more heavily towards outsourcing and away from localism.

Will George Osborne help mutuals in today’s Budget?

By David Bicknell

There’s an interesting piece on the ResPublica blog today, suggesting that today’s Budget will offer an opportunity to judge the Government’s understanding of, and appetite for, bridging the gap between ambition and action, rhetoric and reality, policy and practice when it comes to mutuals.

The piece, by Dan Gregory,  ‘Can the Budget help the public sector do mutuals?’ suggests we should look out for any promising words in George Osborne’s speech around the public stake in the banks, the future of the remaining arms-length bodies, the future of some of our valued national assets, and keep an eye on public service reforms.

Gregory suggests that “a handful of our local public servants and administrators are interested (in mutuals). So what does this mutual ambition mean in practice for these asset managers, budget-holders and HR managers? Which button do you press to get yourself a mutual? The unspoken truth here – which is beginning to crystallise as the test of this government’s ambitions for mutual solutions – is that the standard levers available to those responsible for delivery probably won’t lead to the creation of mutuals. Keeping services or assets in house certainly won’t and going out to the market, well, unsurprisingly, means the market will decide. So how do you ‘do’ the mutual option? Where’s the lever?”

Gregory says, “We should welcome any practical steps that will truly enable the HR professionals, asset managers and budget-holders to look beyond the options they currently have at their disposal and set the warm words alight.”

Let’s see what Osborne comes up with later today.