Gordon has criticised the Government for undermining eco-friendly businesses and schools in Blackpool, following proposals for a tax hike on organisations that install solar panels.
The Blackpool South MP, who earlier this year launched his “Cleaner, Greener Blackpool” initiative in South Shore, said the Government’s plans to increase tax rates would “punish” local organisations, who were trying to do the right thing in generating their own clean energy for themselves and the local community.
Gordon, who in the spring was shown around the new Enterprise Zone at Blackpool Airport said: “The Government must rethink these harmful and misguided plans. I have seen the difference installing solar panels make to businesses like Gledhill and schools such as St Nicholas, helping them to become more self-sufficient but also to give something back to the local community they serve.
“Solar energy is now a high growth industry and there is huge potential to make renewables such as solar, the genuinely viable alternative for the Fylde Coast - especially with the new Enterprise Zone on our doorstep. However if the Government press ahead with these ill-thought out plans, it could stifle this potential and deter small and medium sized businesses, schools and other organisations at looking at the option of installing solar panels.”
Andy Mellor (pictured), head teacher at St Nicholas Church of England Primary School, who Gordon met with last year added: “St Nicholas have responded positively to the Government’s request for schools to become more self-financing and as such installed solar panels on our roof top some two years ago.
“This initiative was expensive but we felt that the benefits in terms of saving the taxpayer money in lower energy costs, feeding back energy into the national grid in a clean sustainable way and the benefit of teaching the children about clean energy, warranted the investment.
“If the Government decide to increase the tax on solar power initiatives, it will undermine our attempts and will act as an insurmountable barrier to schools, with much reduced budgets, ever being able to put solar panels on their roof. This is in addition to the feed-in tariff dropping significantly. Schools may well ask – Why bother?”
Both Gordon and Mr Mellor urged the Government to think again and instead incentivise schools and businesses to invest in solar power.
The new tax rates will be published by a Government agency before the end of September and will come into force on 1 April 2017. Labour MPs are calling on the Government to intervene before the end of September to allow more transparent scrutiny of these plans to increase this solar tax by six to eight times the current rate.