SNP accuses UK government of “relentless and sustained assault” on renewable sector

Written by Nick Keyden on 25 July 2016 in News

Solar Trade Association reports finds that more than 12,000 jobs have been lost as a result of Tory subsidy cuts

Solar - credit: PA

The SNP has accused the UK government of a “relentless and sustained assault” on the renewable energy industry, following new figures published today.

The report, conducted by PwC for the Solar Trade Association (STA), found that more than 12,000 jobs have been lost as a result of Tory subsidy cuts, equalling a third of solar jobs in the UK.

It comes days after Paul Wheelhouse called for “urgent talks” with the UK Government following its decision to scrap the Department for Energy and Climate Change, with the energy minister saying the move called in to question Theresa May’s commitment to tackling climate change.


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SNP MSP John Mason, deputy convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Committee, said the report was “the latest example of how the Tory government’s relentless and sustained assault on the renewable energy industry is costing jobs and economic growth – and risking holding back Scotland’s world-leading ambitions for a low-carbon economy.”

He said: “At this time of uncertainty for the industry in the face of Brexit, the Tory government has a duty to do everything it can to provide reassurance and to protect jobs and investment – instead they are doing the exact opposite, and putting their own ideological interests ahead of the national interest.”

The findings coincided with a new report from Westminster’s Scottish Affairs Committee finding that although progress has been made in expanding renewable energy capacity, recent cuts could cost Scotland up to £3bn in lost investment and put 5,400 jobs at risk.

Committee chair Pete Wishart commented:  “During the course of this inquiry it has been encouraging to see how Scotland has taken to renewable energy, and now produces over a quarter of the UK’s renewable electricity.”

He added:  “Our report was produced before recent changes to the structure of Government—the abolition of the Department of Energy and Climate Change, with its responsibilities moving to a new Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy—but this change indicates a troubling shift in the Government’s priorities.”

Responding to the publication, WWF Scotland Climate and Energy Policy Officer Fabrice Leveque said: “Despite the uncertainty created by Westminster decisions, the Scottish Government can continue to drive progress by setting a new goal to generate 50% of all our energy needs, across electricity, heat & transport, from renewables by 2030.”

The axed DECC merged with Business, Innovation and Skills to establish the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

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