Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Shortest Day

Two related events caught my eye today on this the Winter Solstice.

First, Government plans to cut subsidies for solar panels on homes have been ruled legally flawed by the High Court. See FoE press release here.

Friends of the Earth’s Executive Director Andy Atkins said:
"These botched and illegal plans have cast a huge shadow over the solar industry, jeopardising thousands of jobs. We hope this ruling will prevent Ministers rushing through damaging changes to clean energy subsidies - giving solar firms a much-needed confidence boost. Ministers must now come up with a sensible plan that protects the UK's solar industry and allows cash-strapped homes and businesses to free themselves from expensive fossil fuels by plugging into clean energy. Solar payments should fall in line with falling installation costs but the speed of the Government's proposals threatened to devastate the entire industry."

Birmingham Friends of the Earth campaigner Kara Moses said:
"This could be great news for Birmingham's burgeoning solar industry. We hope that the government will come back with measures that will protect the positive work that's being done by communities locally. With high levels of unemployment and fuel poverty in Birmingham we can't afford to damage the work that's being done to tackle this and give us better energy security."
Second, remember this from Gateshead College? Well, this, below, arrived in my inbox before the above announcement.

Solar powers bright future for unemployed

Group Horizon’s Dennis Latimer and Gateshead College’s Paul Gough showing the type of training that has secured jobs for more than 50 people

More than 50 unemployed people are building sustainable careers on a construction site in North Tyneside thanks to training delivered by Gateshead College and renewable energy training specialist Group Horizon.
The new recruits will work on social housing stock across the North Tyneside area, after securing employment through building services company, Optimal Systems. The Yorkshire-based company worked with Ingeus and Group Horizon to recruit the new workers to carry out their contract for property group Kier.
Group Horizon and Gateshead College work with Job Centre Plus and welfare-to-work organisations, such as Ingeus, to identify candidates for the unemployed training programme. They then work with the trainees to provide them with the skills employers demand including solar PV installation, construction, engineering, security, IT and administration.
Paul Gough, head of commercial operations at Gateshead College said: “We are at the forefront of low carbon training in the North East. The main purpose of this work programme is to develop ‘green skills’ for unemployed people who want to get back into the job market. We work closely with a wide range of employers in the region including manufacturers, installers, local councils and social housing companies, so that we can meet the local demand for skills that get people back into work and help the economy to grow.”
Peter Behan, Managing Director at Group Horizon “The current uncertainty over the future of the Government’s ‘feed-in tariff’ has lead to an unprecedented interest in companies looking to up skill in solar PV installation to fulfil orders before the scheme comes to an end.”
Optimal approached Group Horizon and Gateshead College when it was looking to recruit solar PV installers and electricians for a large project across the North Tyneside area to retrofit the social housing stock managed by Kier. The new employees will be working to install solar panels on over 3,500 homes over the next 24 months.
Peter continues; “The roles are temporary with the likelihood that many will be made permanent. The skills and abilities the employees are learning will provide key attributes that employers are currently looking for and will certainly help them remain in similar work in the future.”
So, here we have a scheme that is creating employment and generating more in tax revenue than it is costing, but our Eton well educated government want to abandon it. The #Luddites of the 21st Century are now in charge.


  1. Did the Energy Secretary, Mr Huhne, go to Eton? Mr Clegg went to Westminster (the School that is), before going to Brussels, thus picking up a handy pension, before gracing the HoC back here.

  2. I was referring to those upstairs, not the servants.

  3. Dear B21, please note:

    Chancellor - St Paul's School
    Home Secretary - State Grammar
    Foreign Secretary - State Grammar
    Education Secretary - Robert Gordon College, (private school, on a scholarship)
    Defence Secretary - Shenfield High, Brentwood
    Communities Secretary - State Grammar
    Deputy Prime Minister - Westminster School
    Treasury Secretary - State School
    Environment Secretary - Westminster School

    Only the Prime Minister went to Eton, no-one else in the Government, so your description of an 'Eton-educated Government' is, ahem, deeply inaccurate.

  4. Ok Ok. I get the point. I note you are not challenging the Luddite claim though ...

  5. William Hague (the current Foreign Secretary) was born on 26 March 1961. This means he would have started his secondary education in September 1972 - the date from which Wath-upon-Dearne Grammar School became a comprehensive school; although it was another 2 years before it changed its name.

  6. No wonder the country is in such a state, they are all grammar school 'oicks.

  7. Dopey - I must tell your cricket club what you think of them!

  8. Nobody could possibly regard those who attended either Beal (when it was a Grammar School) or Ilford County High as 'oicks

  9. .... oooh I'm not sure about that!

  10. ..of Wilson Chowdhry and Doctor Dick?

  11. Weggis - it's the season of goodwill, even to those two. (Next week could change all that!).

  12. Morris - why put off until next week what you can do today?

  13. It's the old Redbridge habits......