This week I am joining with Labour colleagues to stop the Government’s proposed solar tax hike which will undermine solar power and the clean energy industries of the future. Under proposed Government plans to update tax rates for business properties companies installing solar panels on their rooftops will end up with a tax bill that is six to eight times higher than they are currently paying.
It will mean in some cases that rooftop solar installations cost more to run than they generate. This tax hike will penalise thousands of businesses and schools who choose to use renewable energy and invested in good faith with the prior backing of consecutive Governments.
What I find particularly disappointing and unfair is that these changes will affect the majority of state schools who have solar installations, while academies and private schools are largely exempt due to their charitable status. This will hit schools at a time when education budgets are already stretched.
The solar industry currently employs 40,000 people across the UK, some of which are based in my constituency. The Government’s proposals will also have a huge impact here in Burnley on jobs, as the tax hike will naturally kill off demand and with it jobs. Over 12,000 jobs have already been lost as a result of other changes.
It seems to me that this Government is taking Britain’s energy industry backwards and not forwards. We should be subsidising the solar industry not taxing it. We should be investing in solar as the energy of the future and with it the jobs of the future, in which the UK can be a world leader. Solar power continues to be one of the most environmentally friendly and effective energy industries and I believe we need a Government that will champion its future rather than one whose first act is to dismantle the Department for Energy and Climate Change.
That is why I will continue to fight against any solar power tax hikes that will undermine one of Britain’s highest growing energy industries, as well as standing up for businesses and schools that use solar power and solar power jobs in Burnley.