Wind subsidy cuts would ‘kill off’ industry
Cuts would 'kill off' wind industry
Labour has accused the UK Government of ‘turning its fire’ on onshore wind power citing fears over a proposed 25 per cent cut to subsidies.
Shadow energy and climate change secretary Caroline Flint sought to exploit apparent coalition tensions on wind policy, calling on Lib Dem cabinet minister Ed Davey to "stand up" to his Conservative colleagues, who, she claimed wanted to "kill off" the British wind industry.
Energy and Climate Change Secretary Davey maintained both parties were working "very closely" on the issue and attacked Labour's previous Government record on renewable investment.
Speaking earlier during Commons Energy questions, Christopher Heaton-Harris, Tory MP for Daventry, said if onshore wind was cost competitive "then it wouldn't need support".
Flint told MPs: "Having seen a year in which the solar industry has been undermined, there are now fears that Government is turning its fire onto the cheapest form of clean energy, onshore wind power by proposing a cut of 25 per cent.
"In the words of one industry expert, this would kill dead new wind developments which maybe some of the members on the Government benches would like to see.
"Now the Secretary of State has briefed the press that he does not support this, neither do we, so why doesn't he stand up to his Conservative colleagues who want to kill off the British wind industry?"
Davey responded: "I have to disappoint her.
"My Conservative colleagues and I are working very closely on this matter.
"All sides on this House support decarbonisation, we understand the critical role of renewables, and it was the party opposite when they were in Government that meant that renewable investment did not occur and we had one of the worst records in Europe.
"I have to say to her, she will have to be patient and we will make the announcement and it will be a very good announcement."
Flint claimed the "mixed messages" coming from the Government benches had "blighted" policy in the area, arguing investors were "crying out for certainty and confidence".
She said: "The message from this Government seems to be that Britain is closed for green business", adding: "So before any more firms axe jobs in Britain, why won't the Secretary of State tell us today before this House rises that it will scrap the 25 per cent cut and get behind the British low-carbon jobs once and for all."
Davey replied: "There's been a large increase in investment in renewables in the last year, creating over 20,000 jobs and the confidence in this sector actually is extremely high and when we make an announcement I believe we will see a lot more investment coming forward, billions of pounds of investment coming forward."
Roger Helmer MEP, the Ukip spokesman on energy and climate change, said: "Subsidy cuts would kill off the wind industry', say critics.
"Indeed they would, and this would be the best possible outcome. If wind cannot survive on 75 per cent of the current massive subsidy levels, it doesn't deserve to survive at all."
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