Hastings and Rye MP Amber Rudd has been criticised for changes to the government’s energy policies.
In the last few weeks as secretary of state for energy and climate change she has announced plans to cut subsidies to solar power projects and the end to Green Deal funding, which helped people make their houses more energy efficient.
The moves were part of the government’s wider review of energy policy.
Mrs Rudd said her first priority was to get spending under control.
She said: “My priorities are clear.
“We need to keep bills as low as possible for hardworking families and businesses while reducing our emissions in the most cost-effective way.
“Our support has driven down the cost of renewable energy significantly. As costs continue to fall it becomes easier for parts of the renewables industry to survive without subsidies.
“We’re taking action to protect consumers, whilst protecting existing investment.”
According to the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), proposed cuts to solar subsidies are due to an overspend caused by lower wholesale electricity prices, higher take-up of the subsidies, and faster than predicted advancement in solar technology’s efficiency.
Keith Taylor, Green MEP for the South East, called the government’s decision to cut renewable energy subsidies ‘breathtaking’.
He added: “In the face of our commitments to reduce carbon emissions and the forthcoming UN climate talks in Paris, these cuts are environmental vandalism of the first order.”
Meanwhile, Friends of the Earth energy campaigner Alasdair Cameron said: “This latest attack on the green economy will cast a long shadow over the UK solar industry, and undermine efforts to tackle climate change.
“This won’t lower electricity bills – all new energy is being subsidised to some extent and solar is already cheaper than nuclear and will soon be cheaper than gas from new power stations.”
But Friends of the Earth did welcome plans to stop forms of biomass getting support.
On the end of the Green Deal the government said future schemes would have to provide better value for money, while take-up by households had been low.
The Federation of Master Builders (FMB), the UK’s largest trade association in the building industry, called on the government to set out a clear vision for what would replace the Green Deal.
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