Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Kerry McCarthy's response to Tory renewable energy support cuts

I posted a Care2 petition in September against the Tory government's
proposed cut in support for renewable energy. As you probably have heard elsewhere, they have chosen to 'invest' in a massive Chinese-built nuclear power station instead - a project which when it (no doubt) goes over budget will apparently be the most expensive structure on the planet! Personally I don't see how that kind of expenditure is going to benefit Britain? It doesn't support existing British businesses, it doesn't help our economic recovery, and it doesn't help us meet our renewable energy targets. Just think what else could be achieved if all those millions of taxpayers' pounds were spread around UK projects and enterprises instead!

I also contacted my MP, Kerry McCarthy, and received the following email yesterday in which she eloquently outlines her concerns and actions:

"Thank you for contacting me about the Government’s proposal to cut support for Feed-in Tariffs (FITs).

I very much share your concerns, which will cut the domestic FiT by 87% and is likely to have a devastating effect on the rooftop solar industry in this country. We are already seeing the impact of this in Bristol and the South West. Current predictions are that 3,800 jobs are at risk in the South West, which will be the 3rd worst hit region (after the South East and North West).

The renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors are a major source of jobs and growth in our economy: the part of the economy that grew 5% a year during the double dip recession. We’re already seeing the effect of the Government’s decision to take a sledge hammer to our green economy, with both Mark Group and Climate Change going into administration within the last few weeks – affecting both jobs and insulation work that was due to be done by these companies locally. Since the election, the Government has ended support for onshore wind, as well as zero-carbon homes, its Green Deal programme (with nothing yet to replace it) and a target to keep increasing the proportion of revenue from environmental taxes. It has also said it will sell-off the Green Investment Bank and impose the Climate Change Levy on renewables.

In the run up to the vital Paris climate conference this year, the Government should be fulfilling its pledge to decarbonise at least cost, but instead has severely undermined the two cheapest forms of clean energy, solar and onshore wind. No wonder Al Gore was “puzzled” by the timing of these announcements. The UK is currently on course to miss our crucial 2020 Renewables target.

I have regularly raised in Parliament my concern about successive Government decisions which are undermining investor confidence and growth in the renewable energy industry. You can see some of my interventions on this issue here.

The transition to a low-carbon economy is a huge opportunity for the UK, with the potential to be a major source of jobs and growth, and for us to be a world leader in clean energy. What investors need is long-term certainty, but this Government is paralysed by internal rows and chronic indecision. Labour would have provided the certainty and clarity investors need by setting a 2030 power sector decarbonisation target. The inevitable uncertainty we see now across the renewables sector will undermine the UK’s ability to meet its climate change commitments, and by hampering the development of cheap forms of clean energy, consumer bills will rise rather than fall.

I can assure you I will continue to press the Government to rethink its approach to solar energy and to do more to support renewables.

Yours sincerely,

Kerry McCarthy

Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and Labour MP for Bristol East

Website: www.kerrymccarthymp.org
Twitter: @kerrymp
Facebook: facebook.com/kerry4mp "

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