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HPM-04-APR-2016

Parliamentarians of all parties, in both the Lords and the Commons, are objecting to the government’s treatment of solar power. Labour has tabled an amendment to the Finance Bill which would prevent a damaging potential VAT rise on domestic solar systems in future. The Solar Trade Association (STA) was braced for a 20% hike in VAT on domestic solar in last month’s budget, but, while the budget was silent on the issue, the STA has been advised the decision has been postponed and could happen at any time before autumn. Up to 50 Tory MPs are set to rebel in support of preventing the solar VAT hike. The STA has urged Chancellor George Osborne to stand up to the European Commission and not to go ahead with tax hikes that would see households installing solar power taxed at 20%, while fossil fuels remained at five per cent. This outcome would be perverse given EU and UK commitments on climate change and ending fossil subsidies. STA chief executive, Paul Barwell, said: “Parliament is right to recognise a serious problem with the government’s treatment of solar power, which had been the major clean energy success story of the last Parliament. Of course we understand there needs to be good cost control, and we are very happy to work with the government to achieve that. “But the government has gone to extremes; slashing support under the Feed in Tariff (FiT) by 64% for rooftop solar and removing all support for larger projects from this April, leaving much of the industry in limbo. “There is now huge consensus across the energy industry, at home and internationally, that solar sits at the heart of a modern power system – it makes no sense to limit the UK stake in a powerful technology that even Shell believes will form the backbone of the world’s future power supply,” he said. The government’s closure of the Renewables Obligation in April would leave all solar in the UK over 1MW in size with no viable support. The STA has calculated that the government will be spending just one per cent of all support for low-carbon power over the next three years on solar via its one remaining support scheme – the FiT. With solar power the cheapest major renewable, its marginalisation has left a previously successful industry facing huge risk and uncertainty while leaving energy bill payers paying for more expensive alternatives. FROM THE EDITOR “This week I have travelled the country meeting people doing the most incredible jobs, from cooking mussels at Rick Stein’s restaurant to fixing helicopters for the Royal Navy,” so says the skills minister, Nick Boles. But this was no ordinary ‘week’, the five days the MP was referring to, March 14-18, were officially National Apprentice Week, which this year saw employers pledge more than 30,000 new apprenticeships - up from 23,000 in 2015. A press release on behalf of the Skills Funding Agency – the organiser of National Apprenticeship Week – revealed that employers that had agreed to take on young people included Greene King, Microsoft and BT who are taking on 10,000, 4,500 and 1,000 respectively. But scroll down the list and the name GMD Boiler Services appears. This small boiler and central heating servicing company based in Norwich, Norfolk, may be run by just two directors and have a handful of staff, but it has decided that it, like the big international giants listed, wants to give a young person a foot on the career ladder. The role may not have the glamour of BMW, the Museum of London or the National Theatre – three other names who have committed to apprenticeships – but GMD’s new person will be given just as good a start in life – simply because he or she is going to be an apprentice. They will have a better chance of getting a job, the opportunity to gain a useful skill and enjoy a practical career. They will also not be saddled with debt as the majority leaving university will – in fact they will actually be earning while learning. Data compiled by the National Apprenticeship Service shows that 57% of companies report that their apprentices go on to take management positions. The two directors at GMD had better beware. Tim Wood, Editor HPM twood@unity-media.com Government’s stand on solar power attacked NEWSDESK Got a story? Ring us on 01732 748041 or e-mail twood@unity-media.com “...apprentices will actually be earning while learning” WWW.HPMMAG.COM Follow us on Twitter: @HPMMag SPECIALISTS IN BAY WINDOW RADIATORS CAST IRON RADIATORS DESIGNER RADIATORS ECO-ALUMINIUM RADIATORS TEL: 0116 260 9257 www.radiatorfactory.net DISTRIBUTOR TO THE MERCHANTS SCAN FOR BROCHURE HEATING & PLUMBING MONTHLY APRIL 2016 7 enquiry number 302


HPM-04-APR-2016
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