Analysis by strategic energy consultants Element Energy has revealed that the proposed cut to the feed-in tariff level for solar technology will put 29,000 solar professionals out of work and cause the treasury to lose up to £230 million a year in tax income.

The study, commissioned by Friends of the Earth and the Cut Don’t Kill campaign, argues that although the cuts to the feed-in tariff have been introduced as a cost-saving measure the impact of the cuts will actually end up costing the Treasury money, a move labelled by campaigners as “utterly unproductive”.

The estimated current income for the Treasury in employment taxes and VAT alone from the solar PV sector is £275 million, without taking into account corporation tax and indirect spending which could significantly raise the figure.

Howard Johns, of the Cut Don’t Kill campaign, said: “This study shows that the tariff cut is utterly counterproductive for the Government – added to which tens of thousands of workers are facing redundancy before Christmas.

“This was meant to be the greenest Government ever, but if they push ahead with their plans they will become famous only for shooting themselves in the foot.”

Friends of the Earth’s Executive Director Andy Atkins said: “In a time of economic gloom, the solar industry has been one of the UK’s brightest success stories, enabling homes and communities across the country to free themselves from expensive fossil fuels.

Atkins concluded, “We believe the Government’s proposals are not only wrong, they’re also illegal – which is why we are taking Ministers to court.”