Coalition of UK Industries Calls for Renewables Tax Reform

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A coalition of trade associations representing major British industries including retail, property, construction and technology, has written a letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to ask for renewable energy technologies such as solar PV and battery storage to be excepted from business rates.

The Solar Trade Association has estimated that excepting solar PV from rates could deliver 1500-1800 additional jobs annually, and increase business investment in the UK by more than £315m a year.

Many businesses shelved plans to install solar on their sites after a change in the way business rates are calculated saw early-adopters punished by skyrocketing premiums, in some cases well over 500% more.

Solar Trade Association’s Chief Executive, Chris Hewett, commented: “This will help businesses in Britain to build back better and contribute towards a green economic recovery by easing the frankly unjustified and disproportionate tax burden on renewables, driving the uptake of new solar in the commercial sector and delivering thousands of high quality green jobs across the country.”

The Government is currently undertaking a review of the Business Rates regime, with a public consultation due to close on Saturday 31 October 2020.

The changes made in 2017 were met with contempt by several major businesses, including Sainsbury’s, IKEA and Kingfisher PLC.

Exception from business rates for renewable energy technologies would bring tax treatment in line with certain fossil fuel technologies such as gas Combined Heat and Power.

Signatories of the letter to Rishi Sunak include Helen Dickenson OBE from the British Retail Consortium, Russell Bertie from the Federation of Environmental Trade Associations and Melanie Leech from the British Property Federation.

National Federation of Roofing Contractors CEO, James Talman, one of the signatories of the letter, added: “The roofing industry is in a prime position to help the government reach its net-zero target through the installation of solar technologies on Britain’s commercial roof spaces.

“However, we are being held back by the archaic business rates system, which is stifling investment and innovation.

“We urge the Chancellor to rectify this by exempting renewable energy generation and storage from business rates to help reduce in carbon emissions and create thousands of quality skilled construction jobs, as well as generating millions of pounds of green business investment.”