Increased VAT on solar panels is undermining the renewable energy sector at a time when young people are demanding action to stop global warming says Peter Chowney.
Mr Chowney – leader of Hastings Borough Council (HBC) and Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Hastings – has hit out at the tax hike saying it puts Hastings’ schemes, along with thousands of others, in jeopardy. He says most experts predict the tax increase will make solar production increasingly uneconomic.
The move to increase VAT on solar panels from five per cent to 20 per cent, was announced earlier this month just days after parliament voted to declare a ‘climate emergency’ and three months after HBC voted to do the same and pledged to make the borough carbon neutral by 2030.
Peter Chowney, who was instrumental in Hastings adopting its own emissions targets, said: “Here’s the final proof that not only is the government not serious about preventing climate change, they’re actively promoting it.
“A four-fold increase in VAT on renewable energy equipment, coupled with the abolition of the feed-in tariff, means renewable energy generation will be much less likely, especially for small-scale installations on domestic roofs.”
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“And yet as evidence mounts of the threat of global warming, the Tories continue to back unpopular shale gas extraction or ‘fracking’. While at the same time they take credit for reducing the use of fossil fuels,” says Mr Chowney, who suggests that ‘green gains’ made during the years of the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government have been reversed.
“This Conservative government has imposed a ban on further onshore wind farms and they cancelled a scheme in the Severn Estuary to harness tidal power.
“On solar power, their VAT rise follows the ending of feed-in tariffs, which helped householders fund the installation of solar panels on their homes.
“Once again, it looks very much as if the Conservatives are putting the environment and money making in the balance, and private capital in the shape of oil and gas interests are winning,” says Mr Chowney
And he concludes: “This has to change, for the sake of our children, and their children – they will be the ones who suffer the consequence of a government that puts short-term private profit above the welfare and survival of future generations.”
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