Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

Climate crisis? What climate crisis? The Conservative government has increased tax on solar panels to 20%.

Labour pans Tory VAT hike hitting green energy schemes

Just weeks after Parliament declared a climate emergency, the government has raised VAT on solar panels. Rick Dillon of the local Labour Party gets hot under the collar about the Conservative government’s environmental hypocrisy.

The massive hike, from 5% to 20%, was announced under cover of the European elections. It undermines the renewable energy sector at a time when young people are demanding action to stop global warming.

Hastings’ schemes, along with thousands of others, will be jeopardised by a rise most experts predict will make solar production increasingly uneconomic.


Peter Chowney: Parliamentary Candidate for the Labour Party

Council leader Peter Chowney, who was instrumental in Hastings council 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.”

The Conservatives say they recognise the need to tackle climate change. On 1 May Parliament, with the backing of environment secretary Michael Gove, backed Jeremy Corbyn’s call to declare a formal climate and environment emergency.

The latest threat is to Britain’s coastlines, according to a new report pointing to the dangers posed by rising sea levels.

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 taking credit for reducing the use of fossil fuels.

In fact, green gains made by the Coalition government have been reversed!

This Conservative government has imposed a ban on further onshore wind farms. They also cancelled a scheme in the Severn Estuary to harness tidal power. And, 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 Tories are putting the environment and money-making in the balance, and private capital in the shape of oil and gas interests are winning.

Peter Chowney says: “The decision to hike VAT to 20% was taken after a ‘consultation’ … who with? The oil companies? The Tories seem to be oblivious to the climate emergency we’re facing, which is presumably why most of them didn’t bother to turn up to the debate on the climate emergency in Parliament.

“This has to change, for the sake of our children, and their children – they’ll be the ones who suffer the consequence of a government that puts short-term private profit above the welfare and survival of future generations.”

Did you know…

Most voters would support radical action to slash greenhouse gases to nearly zero by 2050 at a cost of tens of billions of pounds, a new poll has found.

The survey by BMG Research found 59 per cent of voters would support such action, with only 8 per cent opposing it and 34 per cent who had no view.

Published in the Sunday Independent on May 12.

Posted 17:20 Tuesday, May 14, 2019 In: Politics


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  1. ken davis

    Again and again when talking about carbon reduction the discussion is around high-tech (active) solutions when what should be done is to subsidise low-tech (passive) solutions such as insulation and draft proofing. Only then should there be any support to systems such as solar panels (water or pv).
    Not so much profit in tech solutions?

    Comment by ken davis — Sunday, May 26, 2019 @ 13:07

  2. H.Grigg

    Is Mr Hall right Ms. Doubtfire?

    Comment by H.Grigg — Wednesday, May 22, 2019 @ 19:43

  3. Ms.Doubtfire

    Good job someone has got the facts right here! Makes a change from Cllr. Chowney’s frequently skewed facts and figures.

    Comment by Ms.Doubtfire — Thursday, May 16, 2019 @ 20:21

  4. Russell Hall

    The article is misleading as it fails to mention that the VAT rate change is to comply with a Court of Justice of the European Union ruling (Case C161/14).

    Any UK government would have to comply with the ruling and the government first consulted on the changes in 2015.

    The VAT rate increase only applies if the materials exceed 60% of the total cost of installation. It does not apply to recipients aged 60 or over, those receiving certain benefits, and to housing associations.

    Comment by Russell Hall — Wednesday, May 15, 2019 @ 19:42

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