The Energy and Utilities Alliance (EUA) has responded to the Queens speech.
Isaac Occhipinti, external affairs nanager at EUA, said: “We are disappointed that the Energy Bill was a little light weight, we were hoping for more, particularly a commitment to review UK Gas Storage. The speech made reference to energy security but failed to address the very real need to increase our Gas Storage, currently the UK stores less gas than other European countries.
“Gas remains the number one choice for UK homeowners as a means of heating their homes. There is a recognition that we need to become more energy secure but little plan as to how we are to achieve this. We had hoped to see a commitment to the Renewable Heat Incentive beyond 2016 and a review of the Heat Strategy.
“The commitment to funding additional apprenticeships is very welcome but work needs to be done to tackle the reputation of apprenticeships as the ‘poor relation’ to university places.
“We are pleased with the pledge to freeze VAT for the next five years but we will be pressing for a clarification on the VAT rules. Successive governments promote energy efficiency measures, encouraging homeowners to install everything from insulation, new boilers to state-of-the-art controls yet there are huge anomalies in the levels of VAT charged. Installing a new control, as a one-off job, would attract VAT at the lower rate of five per cent, making it attractive to the consumer yet installing the same control, as part of a wider system improvement, would attract VAT at the standard, 20%. The current system is inconsistent and sends out mixed messages.
“Finally, we applaud the plans to continue with cutting the red tape, facing businesses but urge the government to take its own advice and remove the bureaucratic and expensive PAS2030 and Microgeneration Certification Scheme accreditation.”