David Cameron may regret saying he wanted the coalition to be the “greenest government ever”. Not because he didn’t mean it, but because as ministers strive to keep to the tough spending allowances granted by the Treasury, it is an aim that seems to be slipping further and further away.
The last week has seen a slew of announcements that appear to signal a retreat by the government from its green ideals. Firstly, we had the cut to solar subsidies in the form of the feed-in tariff.
Officials at the energy department claim the changes to the feed-in tariff are primarily aimed at redistributing the money away from large-scale solar farms and towards households and small businesses, rather than cutting it. But if this was the case, the amount of money that had been cut from large producers would surely have been recycled in the form of higher subsidies for smaller ones.
Instead, what happened is that an overall £30m was cut from the solar subsidy budget. And it is no coincidence that the Treasury has asked for savings of £40m from this budget by 2014-15.
Then on Tuesday, we had advance warning of two other moves in Wednesday’s Budget which will be viewed by environmentalists as regressive steps. (Financial Times)