November 18, 2015
Double whammy for renewables
As the momentum builds towards the UN climate change talks in Paris at the end of the month (note: Scotland’s Climate March – 28th November), the UK Government’s attitude towards the renewable energy sector continues to move inexplicably in the opposite direct. Not just content to blow a hole in the subsidy regime for the development of renewable energy projects, the Chancellor in his wisdom has now decided to remove two different forms of tax relief that support community share issues –one of the most efficient ways for communities to raise the necessary funding for their projects.
Rt Hon George Osborne MP
Chancellor of the Exchequer
4th November 2015
The Conservative Government has made some positive strides to live up to its claim ‘to be the party of social enterprises’. The Conservative Manifesto boldly states that it would ‘give more people the power and support to…start their own social enterprise’.
Yet, radical and wholly unexpected changes to the Finance Bill will decimate the area that has shown by far the greatest potential for community share issues – community energy.
The proposal to deny community energy investors access to both Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) tax relief and Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) is seen by many in the sector as the final nail in the coffin for future projects; especially given numerous recent assurances on admissibility and coming on top of proposals to significantly reduce Feed-in Tariff rates, remove access to pre-accreditation and remove Climate Change Levy exemptions.
Your previous support for community energy had resulted in real growth and confidence. The sector was at last taking off: with dozens of projects leveraging tens of millions of investment from local communities. Community projects are supported by ordinary people across the UK in a way that is almost unique.
Please reconsider the decision to exclude community energy from this essential support and help communities build a competitive, popular, clean energy system for the future.
Signed by 120 community sector intermediaries from across the UK