Bulk of UK public say government should offer tax relief for community energy

Around 82% of people think the government should do more to help local communities generate their own energy

Around 69% of the UK public think the government should once again offer tax relief to people who invest in community energy projects.

That’s according to the results of a new poll of 2,027 adults conducted by ICM on behalf of Community Energy England, which highlights support for social investment tax relief to help level the playing field for shared energy generation schemes.

Even more people think the government should do more to help local communities generate their own energy, with 82% saying they are in support of this idea.

This surge in support follows community energy capacity installations falling in 2018, when only 7.9MW of new shared capacity was installed, compared to 33.5MW the previous year.

The poll illustrates there was a particularly strong increase in support for community energy from Conservative Party voters, with the proportion in favour of a reinstatement of tax relief shooting up from 43% in 2017 to 68% in 2018.

Roughly 74% of people even said they would be willing to financially contribute themselves, through paying a 25p surcharge on their annual energy bill to fund community energy growth and ensure profits stay in local areas.

Emma Bridge, CEO of Community Energy England, said: “The closure of the Feed-in-Tariff scheme has left many community projects struggling to develop business models, and at the same time government still refuses to allow investors in community energy schemes to be eligible for Social Investment Tax Relief.”

“We’re in a climate crisis; it would make ethical and economic sense to support those citizens helping to reach the zero-carbon targets. We call for an immediate reinstatement of Social Investment Tax Relief for those investing in community energy.”

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