CBI director general John Cridland says the government risks sending a worrying signal to businesses over renewable subsidies

 
James Nickerson
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The government needs to give clarity on policy, says Cridland (Source: Getty)

Certainty and clarity of direction are critical to developing long-term business investment in low-carbon markets, the director general of the Confederation of British Industry.


Speaking in London next to former vice president of the US Al Gore, John Cridland said the world needs to keep up momentum on finding a global solution, by building on the UK’s “hard-won credibility as a climate leader”.

However, Cridland pointed out how government had sent mixed messages, and that businesses need to know it truly intends to tackle climate change.

Read more: Energy secretary on track to slash solar subsidies

In July the government cut subsidies to renewable energies, which the government said was necessary to protect consumers. Under the plans, small scale solar farms will no longer qualify for support under a key subsidy mechanism - the renewables obligation - from April next year.

Energy secretary Amber Rudd said at the time to BBC Radio 4: “"As costs continue to fall it becomes easier for parts of the renewables industry to survive without subsidies. We can't have a situation where industry has a blank cheque, and that cheque is paid for by people's bills."


Read more: Energy industry fears cutback on green subsidies after cabinet reshuffle

However, the renewable energy industry was critical of such a move, and while ministers said plans for another subsidy will be announced in the autumn, Cridland wants clarity now.

“Business must be – and wants to be – part of the solution to tackling the global challenge of climate change,” Cridland said.

The green economy is an emerging market in its own right, brimming with opportunity, and the UK has built up real credibility on climate leadership and low carbon investment.

Yet, with the roll-back of renewables policies and the mixed messages on energy efficiency, the government risks sending a worrying signal to businesses.

Politicians and negotiators should be confident that business is behind them in securing a lasting climate deal.

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