New twist in solar tariff cuts saga

Solar panelsThe Government is considering "tweaking" the start date for the next reduction in solar tariffs, Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey has said, insisting there would be no "massive change".

Mr Davey's comments came as shadow energy and climate change secretary Caroline Flint claimed any Government backtracking was due to incompetence over its policies on feed-in tariff (FIT) subsidies.
Earlier this year, the Government defended plans to further cut the subsidy available to households who install solar panels, confirming they would press ahead with a controversial move to halve the payments for panels installed from March and planned further cuts from July.

Ministers have warned the falling costs of solar technology made the subsidies too generous and feed-in tariffs (FITs) risked spiralling over budget.

Ms Flint referred to a tweet reportedly sent on Wednesday evening by energy and climate change minister Gregory Barker in which he appeared to suggest a "pushing back" in the next proposed reduction in solar tariffs.

Speaking during energy and climate change questions in the Commons, she said: "My question today is about the Government's next round of cuts to solar which is due on July 1. Last night, the minister, the honourable member for Bexhill and Battle tweeted, having listened carefully to industry we're looking at scope for pushing back a little the next proposed reduction in the solar tariffs.

"The truth is that the Government has missed the deadline legally required to provide notice to Parliament for the next round of cuts to come into force. Isn't it the Government's incompetence the real reason that they are now backtracking?"

Mr Davey replied: "Well she seems to think we shouldn't listen to the industry.

"Well I do listen to the industry and we are considering tweaking the start date for the next tariff reduction, but if we do it will be a tweak not a massive change, so I think she needs to understand that the changes that we have consulted on, that we are bringing in, will bring stability and will mean that we do have solar power for the many, not the few."

Ms Flint hit back stating: "Well I think they'll be laughs echoing outside this Chamber about the fact the Secretary of State suggested they've been listening to the industry."

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