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Energy secretary’s first major speech leads to a concerned industry

BSRIA has said the messages made by energy secretary Amber Rudd in her first major speech since the general election – especially those centering on the ending of and reliance on subsidies for energy saving schemes are worrying.

BSRIA chief executive Julia Evans said: “More and more, BSRIA is getting the impression that energy and carbon reduction issues are being viewed as a burden to government – which is inhibiting – not only the industry – but the economy at large.

“The Minister’s speech is arguing that the removal of subsidy will strengthen the economy and a strong economy will respond to the carbon agenda. But the issue is clearly the lack of stability in subsidy and without such stability industry can’t plan for a ‘green future’.”

In recent weeks, government has scrapped subsidies for onshore wind and commercial solar, slashed the energy efficiency budget, lowered taxes on polluting firms and introduced a tax on clean energy.

Green Deal Finance Company funding ending is yet another example of this, along with energy-saving materials being singled out as no longer qualifying for reduced-rate VAT.

Financial losses, economy security and economic risk were repeated throughout the speech, along with the commitment that government has a duty to protect consumers and keep bills as low as possible, while they reduce emissions.

Amber Rudd ended by saying that tackling climate change makes ‘cold hard economic sense’.

Ms Evans said at best the government is sending out mixed messages on carbon reduction policies.

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