CBI director-general, John Cridland, speaking at a dinner in the Midlands yesterday (November 10), claimed the low-carbon sector, which he says has grown throughout the recession risks being ‘derailed’ in the UK by unexpected changes.

Mr Cridland also said the CBI believed the decision risked ‘thousands’ of British renewables jobs.

The Department for Energy and Climate Changes (DECC) told edie it ‘appreciated’ his view, but said the proposed changes meant the scheme would be sustainable in the long-term.

According to the CBI the business sector has financially backed solar photovoltaic (PV), but the commitment has been undermined by the FITs decision.

As a result industry trust and confidence in the government has ‘evaporated’ and this ‘bodes poorly’ for investment in future initiatives.

He said: “Take the low-carbon sector, which has been growing across the world throughout the recession. We need to expand our share.

“But last week the Government announced a dramatic cut in the solar feed-in tariff. A reduction was already on the cards from April 1, but this will now come in by mid-December – before the consultation has even ended.

“This is the latest in a string of government own goals, following the CRC becoming a pure revenue-raiser and the North Sea oil and gas tax.

“As you all know, moving the goal post doesn’t just destroy projects and jobs, it creates a mood of uncertainty that puts off investors and they wonder what’s coming next.

“Some companies have invested heavily in solar PV systems, and in the supply chains needed to install them.”

A DECC spokeswoman said “We appreciate this will be difficult for companies affected, but what we want is an enduring future for the industry.

“If we left things as they are the FIT budget would be eaten up entirely, full stop, and that would be even worse for employees in this sector and those working on other technologies too.

“We believe solar PV can have strong and vibrant future in UK and we are proposing changes to ensure a lasting FITs scheme to support that future.”

Luke Walsh

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