Holyrood Energy Minister condemns UK Govt. as ‘anti-business’ at Scottish renewables jobs summit

Fergus Ewing, MSP, Scottish Energy Minister
Fergus Ewing, MSP, Scottish Energy Minister

Scottish Energy Minster Fergus Ewing has criticised the recent UK Government decision to end the Renewables Obligation early as ‘anti-business’ following a summit with the industry earlier today.

The meeting in Glasgow – attended by over 200 representatives from the across the sector – was an opportunity for the Scottish Government to meet and listen to the industry about the impact of the UK Government decision that will affect many businesses in Scotland. Following the summit Ewing said:

“This decision by the UK Government can only be described as anti-business. The impacts could spread right across Scotland and the wider supply chain, including ports and harbours, transmission and distribution, consultancy, communities and the civil engineering sector.

“This morning’s event was attended by over 200 people from a wide range of businesses and organisations who are affected, which shows the strength of feeling throughout the industry.

“All of this is will come at great personal and economic cost to our businesses and people. I’ve heard from many successful businesses who are at the forefront of renewables technology who are now being forced to look at making redundancies as a result of these changes.

“I also heard from investors both in Scotland and abroad who are wanting to invest in this industry but these are currently being stalled because of the uncertainty this is causing.

“Delegates this morning spoke about the damage this will cause the rural economy – many of the shops and business that are vital to these communities.

“Over the next few weeks the UK Dept of Energy (DECC) will be seeking the views of those affected and I strongly encourage anyone with an interest to respond on this to ensure our concerns are heard.

“We will continue to make representations to both the UK Government’s Energy Department and to the Scotland Office, feeding back from what I heard at the summit and the many meetings I have had with representatives from the industry.”

A renewables industry source said the lack of clarity is extremely damaging for investors and added: “Ending the Renewables Obligation one year early could have a devastating impact on onshore wind developers and supply chain across the country with around £3 billion of investment in Scotland being put at risk. We need UK ministers to urgently reconsider their position.

“The impact of this decision will be felt more harshly in Scotland because most of the projects being developed in the UK are here.”

“The details around exactly how a company may receive a grace period remains unclear. The lack of clarity is extremely damaging for investors but we hope to continue our talks with officials on how this will work in practice.”

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