LONDON, 22 NOVEMBER — Responding to the Autumn Statement, Christopher Hammond, Chief Executive of UK100, the UK’s only cross-party network of ambitious local leaders committed to Net Zero and Clean Air, says:
"The Autumn Statement rightly recognises our outdated energy grid has become a major barrier to — rather than a catalyst for — Net Zero. We welcome interventions to speed up grid connections, support the rollout of EV infrastructure and remove constraints on heat pump adoption. But these reforms are ultimately workarounds for a planning system that fails to put local climate action at its heart.
"Local leaders will be pleased that the beauty parade of local government funding is receding with the local funding simplification doctrine coming into force in January 2024. It is something UK100 and our members have been calling for years. This is a step in the right direction but we have a long way to go in empowering our regions from one of the most centralised states in the Western world.
"We're pleased to see deeper devolution deals for Greater Manchester and the West Midlands, but more communities across the UK would benefit from this empowering settlement being rolled out. Manchester and the West Midlands are ambitious climate leaders, but relying on trailblazers and a patchwork devolution deals risks a postcode lottery for action on the defining issue of our times."