PRESS RELEASE: Coalition of UK industries calls for renewables tax reform

Solar Trade Association
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
30 October 2020

A coalition of trade associations representing major British industries including retail, property, construction and technology, has written to the Chancellor to ask that renewable energy technologies such as solar PV and battery storage be excepted from business rates to boost commercial deployment and provide much needed green jobs. [1]

The STA estimates that excepting solar PV from rates could deliver 1500-1800 additional jobs annually, and increase business investment in the UK by more than £315m a year. [2] Many businesses shelved plans to install solar on their sites after a change in the way business rates are calculated saw early-adopters punished by skyrocketing premiums. In some cases well over 500% more.

STA Chief Executive Chris Hewett said: “This will help businesses in Britain to build back better and contribute towards a green economic recovery by easing the frankly unjustified and disproportionate tax burden on renewables, driving the uptake of new solar in the commercial sector and delivering thousands of high quality green jobs across the country.

National Federation of Roofing Contractors CEO James Talman said: “The roofing industry is in a prime position to help the government reach its net-zero target through the installation of solar technologies on Britain’s commercial roof spaces. However, we are being held back by the archaic business rates system, which is stifling investment and innovation.

We urge the Chancellor to rectify this by exempting renewable energy generation and storage from business rates to help reduce in carbon emissions and create thousands of quality skilled construction jobs, as well as generating millions of pounds of green business investment.”

The Government is currently undertaking a review of the Business Rates regime, with a public consultation due to close on Saturday 31 October 2020. [3] The changes made in 2017 were met with contempt by several major businesses, including Sainsbury’s, IKEA and Kingfisher PLC. [4] Exception from business rates for renewable energy technologies would bring tax treatment in line with certain fossil fuel technologies such as gas Combined Heat and Power. [5]

 

ENDS​

Editor’s notes:

The full list of signatories are as follows:

Chris Hewett, Solar Trade Association

James Talman, National Federation of Roofing Contractors

Julian David, techUK

Helen Dickenson OBE, British Retail Consortium

Melanie Leech, British Property Federation

Caroline Gumble, Chartered Institute of Building  

Julie Hirigoyen, UK Green Building Council

James Calder, Society of Independent Brewers

Rennie Schafer, Self Storage Association

Steven Davies, Lighting Industry Association

Steve Bratt, Electrical Contractors Association

Jeff Moody, British Independent Retailers Association

Brian Madderson, Petrol Retailers Association

Pam Murell, Cast Metals Federation 

Peter Caplehorn, Construction Products Association

Ian Cass, Forum of Private Business

Russell Bertie, Federation of Environmental Trade Associations

Madeleine Greenhalgh, The Electricity Storage Network

Nina Skorupska, Association for Renewable Energy & Clean Technology

 

[1] Solar Trade Association – Letter to the Chancellor RE: Business Rates and Renewable Energy: https://www.solar-trade.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Letter-to-Rt-Hon-Rishi-Sunak-RE-Business-Rates-and-Renewable-Energy-.pdf

[2] Solar Trade Association – Priorities for a Renewable Recovery Package: https://www.solar-trade.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/STA-Policy-Paper-Priorities-for-a-Renewable-Recovery-Package-June-2020.pdf

[3] HM Treasury – Fundamental review of business rates: call for evidence: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/hm-treasury-fundamental-review-of-business-rates-call-for-evidence

[4] Solar Trade Association – Big Brands Say Stop the Solar Tax Hike: https://www.solar-trade.org.uk/big-brands-say-stop-solar-tax-hike/

[5] Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy – Combined Heat and Power Incentives: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/combined-heat-and-power-incentives#business-rating-exemption

 

For further information or to request an interview, please contact:

Name: Jack Dobson-Smith

Title: Senior External Affairs Adviser

Main line: 0203 637 2946 

 

Background on the Solar Trade Association:

The mission of the Solar Trade Association is to empower the UK solar transformation. We are paving the way for solar to deliver the maximum possible share of UK energy by 2030 by enabling a bigger and better solar industry. We represent both solar heat and power plus energy storage, and have a proven track record of winning breakthroughs for all three technologies.