Cuts, strikes and more cuts
I've been rather quiet on the blogging front of late but after a week, or so, of strikes - fuelled no doubt by the announcement of fresh cuts by the Government, I feel I have something to shout about.
We have recently seen the UK's solar industry take a stand against government plans to cut the Feed-in Tariff (FITs) scheme, public sector workers strike against pension cuts and environmental groups slam what can only be described as the less than green aspects of the Autumn Statement .
For those of you who aren't aware, it was announced by the Government just last month (October 31) that the FITs scheme would be cut by roughly 50% from December 12. Not surprisingly, this has caused outrage among the solar profession, which has argued it is "too much, too soon".
Causing insult to injury is the added blow that the Government's review into the scheme is not due until the end of December - a point, quite fairly, contested by the solar industry. To get in on the action I reported on a FITs rally in Westminster, which saw around 500 solar professionals march on government to questions their local MP about the decision.
Moving swiftly on to the Autumn Statement 2011, which was delivered with just a slight quaver in the voice by chancellor George Osborne yesterday (November 29) as he set out the Coalition's strategy of dealing with Britain's cash-poor economy.
Despite pledging to do "whatever it takes" to deal with the crisis, it was, unsurprisingly, never going to be a statement that pleases all people, with leader of the Green Party Caroline Lucas quickly slamming it as a "backwards budget", arguing it is "dangerously colour blind on the green economy".
Meanwhile, the WWF weren't impressed, calling it a "myopic, short term strategy", which rewards high carbon infrastructure. Greenpeace wasn't happy either, calling it a "polluter's charter".
However, amongst the general feeling of gloom was a small ray of light for some, with South West Water (SWW) customers undoubtedly rejoicing at the news they will receive a £50 reduction off their annual bill, which has been one of the highest in the country since privatisation in the late 1980's. Speaking as someone who grew up in deepest, darkest, Devon I would say this reduction is fair enough.
Sadly, that's about all I agree with in this year's statement.
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