Paul Barwell, chief executive officer at The Solar Trade Association:
“We are dismayed that responsible organisations that use their own rooftop solar are still facing an extreme business rate rise of up to 800% from April. Some fossil fuel technologies are already exempt from business rates, and today the chancellor again took special care of oil and gas. It is surprising that the Treasury’s tax policies tend to yesterday’s technologies while putting clean, modern solar at a competitive disadvantage. The chancellor says he wants the UK at the “cutting edge of the global economy”- his tax policies for energy risk the opposite.
“Government continues to cherry pick more expensive technologies while shutting solar out of competitive auctions, even as its industrial strategy prioritises cheap power. This means business and consumers pay over the odds for decarbonisation, and competitive pressure is weak. Suppressing solar in the UK is no way to ‘prepare for a global future’. Solar already dominates clean energy investment globally and it is expected to expand dramatically. It is also set to be the cheapest source of power in the world so countries that embrace solar will have a competitive advantage.”
James Court, head of policy and external affairs at the Renewable Energy Association:
“This budget was at best a placeholder for the renewables industry, resulting in more questions than answers.
“This budget has created new uncertainty around the levy control framework beyond 2021. The industry was expecting an announcement regarding the future budget levels and structure but this has been delayed and instead we face a new regime and no clarity on the proposed new ‘set of controls.’
“The decision over the Carbon Price Floor has yet again been kicked down the road and no details have been given for renewables and companies adversely affected by huge business rates increases.
“As the Treasury notes, ‘The UK already has one of the most competitive tax regimes for oil and gas in the world’, yet whilst end of life oil and gas get yet more help, future low-carbon technologies are starved of support.”
Richard Black, director of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit:
“The Chancellor’s statement on carbon pricing indicates that the government is preparing for a Brexit scenario in which the levers driving decarbonisation are pulled entirely nationally. If we come out of the European Emission Trading System, which is likely, a UK carbon price will be essential. But ministers need to say soon what the price will be, because energy companies are already signing power contracts for 2021.
“The Levy Control Framework was a blunt instrument, and few people will be sorry to see it go. Its worst aspect was that it seemed to make renewable energy more expensive when bills were going down – and logically, that is the time to be investing, when people can most afford it. Whatever replaces it needs to lead the UK towards the smart, flexible power network that, according to the National Infrastructure Commission, will lop £8 billion off our national energy bill – which means incentivising things like energy storage, demand-switching and interconnectors.”
Trevor Hutchings, Director of Advocacy at WWF:
“This Budget was a missed opportunity to embrace the potential of green growth to boost our economy and protect our environment. The UK government could have used the Budget as a spring-board to generate hundreds of thousands of new jobs, create new market opportunities, improve UK competitiveness and productivity, and insulate the economy and businesses from growing risks of resource scarcity and climate change. We are already seeing the effect of poor environmental management in the UK from increased flooding through to air pollution. However the UK government failed to address the problems to our economy and environment, and left them for another day – when it may be too late.”
David Cockshott, chief commercial officer at Inenco:
“Today’s Budget was light on energy which will have disappointed many hoping for greater certainty from the Chancellor, particularly around the future cost of carbon. However, a decision to create a new set of controls to replace the Levy Control Framework is a welcome one. The LCF was created to provide support for low carbon technology at the lowest cost to consumers, yet costly deals such as the Hinkley Point C nuclear contract have been agreed outside of the official framework and auctions have repeatedly been delayed or abandoned, proving that the mechanism is not working as it should do. Low carbon subsidies account for around 25% of business energy bills, so any new framework should be agreed quickly and create a competitive way to provide support for new technologies, bringing forward investment whilst keeping the cost to businesses and households to a minimum.”