Tory-Lib Dem government cut threatens future of new Maghull busi

Mark Davenport and Bill Esterson

A Maghull entrepreneur fears the sun may go down on his newly formed business after the Tory-Lib Dem government made last minute unannounced changes to solar energy incentives.


Mark Davenport set up his business, Trusted Solar, just three months ago. Since then, Mark and his three partners have invested thousands into setting up the company and producing promotional leaflets and advertising to encourage  householders, businesses and organisations to go green and install solar panels.


As an incentive to encourage people to go green, householders have been offered a tariff for the electricity which they produce which is fed into the national grid.


For each kilowatt of energy fed into the grid, the householder received 43p.


Mark said the tariff made it worth people's while to invest in green energy as on average over the period of 25 years a regular household could generate double the investment with some households generating as much as £25,000 over 25 years.


But just last week, the government announced it was slashing the feed-in tariff from 43p to just 21p.


Industry experts fear the cut will devastate the industry.


After being approached by Mark, Bill Esterson raised the issue in Parliament.


Bill asked government Minister Oliver Letwin: "My constituent, Mark Davenport, invested £6,000 setting up a business installing solar panels. At six weeks’ notice, the investment made by thousands of businesses was wiped out by a dramatic cut in the feed-in tariff scheme. Can the Minister explain to Mr Davenport how the abolition of the RDAs and now the cut in feed-in tariffs is helping jobs and growth?"


Mark said he was delighted that Bill raised the issue in Parliament.


Mark said: "The government slashed the feed-in tariff which is going to have a major impact on the green energy industry. It will seriously reduce the number of people who turn to green.


"My partners and I invested thousands in this business just three months ago. We spent hundreds on advertising and leaflets all of which we have to scrap.


"The point of this pay back is to encourage people to invest in renewable energy - and it was working. But the slashing of the feed-in tariff by more than half is going to devastate this industry.


"The tariff brought green energy within reach of a lot of people. But because of these cuts, only the wealthy will be able afford solar panels.


"This won't just affect the industry, it will damage small businesses and it will massively impact on our carbon footprint in this country."


Bill Esterson said the rushed changes had not been fully considered by the government.


Bill said: "The slashing of the feed-in tariff was rushed through by this government without first assessing the full impact of the changes and without giving prior warning. This means that businesses like Mark's are under threat.


"I have been contacted by a number of small solar businesses in the constituency who each tell me the same thing.


"While it is still a sensible financial and ecological investment for householders and businesses to turn to green energy, the government last week severely handicapped the industry at a time when we should be encouraging green industries and small businesses to start up and expand.


"We need brand-new businessmen like Mark and his colleagues to create the businesses in Sefton Central to provide the jobs and growth in the local and national economy which is so needed.


"Decisions this government is making is making it harder for small businesses, not assisting them, and therefore hampering any chance we have of recovering from the global financial crisis.

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