Measures are too little, too late - Ed Miliband

21 November 2011

Ed_LOU1Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Labour Party, on a visit to a solar power company in London today dismissed measures in David Cameron's CBI speech as too little, too late.

Ed Miliband MP, said:

"David Cameron’s speech shows he is out of touch with economic reality and does not understand the scale of the economic crisis facing the country.

"These measures are too little, too late from the man who was responsible for choking off growth in the British economy when he came to power.

"Putting back just 10% of the £4 billion he cut from housing investment last year will convince no-one he is serious about getting growth back into the economy.

"Labour has produced a five-point plan to create jobs and growth. Mr Cameron and his Conservative-led Government look increasingly out of touch and bewildered in the face of this economic crisis."

On a visit to Solarcentury in London with Caroline Flint, the Shadow Energy Secretary, he seized upon the decision to slash back the incentives for people to produce their own green energy as the latest example of "short-sighted policies from a short term Tory-led government".

The feed-in tariff system, introduced by Mr Miliband when he was Climate Change Secretary in 2010, has created tens of thousands of new jobs and businesses.

Mr Cameron, who made one of his first speeches on the environment at Solarcentury when he was Leader of the Opposition, had once been a strong advocate of the scheme and talked of it creating up to 200,000 jobs.

Since the decision to cut the scheme, Solarcentury has launched legal action against the Government and Mr Cameron has been strongly criticized by business groups including the CBI.

Labour will table an Opposition Day motion in the House of Commons for Wednesday to save the feed-in tariff scheme.

Mr Miliband said:

"Solarcentury is a company doing the right thing. It has invested, innovated, researched, exported, manufactured, and created jobs. Now this productive job–creating and wealth-creating business is being strangled at birth  because of the rank hypocrisy of this Government.

"For all our other differences it appeared there was genuine cross-party consensus on the need to green our economy and create new industries and jobs. That consensus has now been broken.

"David Cameron’s decision to cut the feed-in tariff scheme shows the claims he made during his husky-hugging phase were about nothing more than re-branding the Conservative Party. Those who ‘voted blue to go green’ are rightly angry that we have a Tory government that is breaking more of its promises by the day."

Caroline Flint MP, Labour's Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary, who will lead the debate against the Government's cuts to solar power in the Commons on Wednesday, said:

"The Government's cuts to Feed-in Tariffs will hit families, put thousands of jobs and firms like solar century at risk and destroy the solar industry. This is just the latest example of a government which is out of touch, cutting too far and too fast, with no plan for jobs and growth. They must think again, revise their scheme and extend their tariff deadline.

"On Wednesday MPs will have the chance to vote on the Government’s plans. Every part of the country will be hit if these proposals go ahead  – so I’m calling on all MPs to put aside party loyalties, stand up for their constituents and get behind Labour’s ‘Save our Solar’ campaign.

"How will the Government be able to encourage investors to support green policies in the future, when a growing sector, built on a flagship policy that had cross-party support, has been cut off at the knees with just six weeks’ notice?

"The decision will exclude nine out of ten families from having solar power. It cannot be right that the Government is hitting people who are trying to green their homes and cut their energy bills. Instead, it will mean only the privileged few can use solar."