Cuts to the Feed in Tariff

Meeting: 
MQT on 2015-11-18
Session date: 
November 18, 2015
Reference: 
2015/3770
Question By: 
Murad Qureshi
Organisation: 
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor
Category: 

Question

What assistance do you plan to offer to London's solar industry in the wake of the devastating changes to the FIT and particularly in light of the Paris Summit next month?

Answer

Answer for Cuts to the Feed in Tariff

Answer for Cuts to the Feed in Tariff

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Chair):  The next question is in the name of Assembly Member Qureshi but Assembly Member Qureshi says you have answered his primary question.  Do you have a supplementary?

Murad Qureshi AM:  It was the response you gave to Darren [Johnson AM] when he asked a supplementary.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  OK.

Murad Qureshi AM:  Thank you, Mayor, for saying what you said earlier.  Can I draw to your attention that it is not just the cut in the FIT that we are talking about?  There was a change in the pre‑accreditation system that affects, for example, the amount of solar that we develop here and also tax relief changes.  Funnily enough, the Government, while cutting subsidies for renewables like solar, is doubling the subsidies for fossil fuels like North Sea oil.

When you do meet  Amber Rudd [The Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change] at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), when and how are you going to put the London case across, particularly in light of 2,500 jobs being lost in the solar panel business?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Look, the jobs thing, as I was saying to Nicky [Gavron AM] earlier on, is obviously very important.  To concentrate on what we are trying to do, which is to encourage zero‑carbon energy production, solar is very attractive.  We have been concerned about the steep reduction of FIT and the steep reduction in the subsidy.  You have seen our response to the consultation.  It was pretty robust and we continue to hope that there will be a longer glide‑in.

Murad Qureshi AM:  I am sorry to say that the [GLA] Conservatives Group at the Assembly is not supporting you on those efforts, but you will get the support ‑‑

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Is that right?

Murad Qureshi AM:  They did not sign up to the solar report that was done by the Environment Committee.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Woah.  We are at one on everything.

Murad Qureshi AM:  Can I ‑‑

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Sorry, but he is suggesting that we do not agree about something.

Murad Qureshi AM:  Indeed.  There are plenty of things on which you do not agree amongst yourselves.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Nonsense.  There, Gareth says he agrees with me.

Murad Qureshi AM:  Can I propose, Mr Mayor ‑‑

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  No, they do not agree with your report.

Murad Qureshi AM:  Our report says a lot more than they want to live up to.  Mr Mayor, can I ask you then to look into a London FIT suggestion?  Your officers could ‑‑

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Who would pay for it?

Murad Qureshi AM:  It is not so much about paying.  The biggest energy consumer here in London is TfL and it could potentially buy in a lot of stuff in future, but that is not for me to say now.  I want the officers to look into it.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  We do have a License Lite thing with TfL.

Murad Qureshi AM:  Precisely.  That is where we need to be with ‑‑

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  I have to say that I do not entirely understand how the Licence Lite thing with TfL works.  There is a question about this in a minute, is there not?  Sorry, I must not anticipate.

Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Chair):  We are going on to that question in a moment.  Can you finish answering the specifics of Assembly Member Qureshi’s question?

Murad Qureshi AM:  A London FIT is what we want and it should be at least investigated.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  A London FIT?

Murad Qureshi AM:  Yes.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Look, it is an interesting idea.  I will ask Matthew Pencharz [Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy] to see what he thinks of it.

Murad Qureshi AM:  Thank you.  Finally, when you go to Paris, can I just remind you that the last time you went to a conference of the parties in Europe was in Copenhagen and you promised to make London the electric vehicle (EV) capital of the world?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  We have.

Murad Qureshi AM:  What promises are you going to be making this time that you will not deliver on?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Look at it.  You have huge numbers of EVs now.  We have charging points all over the place.

Murad Qureshi AM:  If I can correct you, you said 100,000 vehicles.  We are only at 2,000 or 3,000.  You said 25,000 plug‑in points ‑‑

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  No, it is more than that.  It is more than that.

Murad Qureshi AM:  ‑‑ and 2,000 or 3,000 again.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  It is more than that.

Murad Qureshi AM:  I am just wondering what kind of promises you are going to be making to the summit this December again that you will not deliver on.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  The promises I will be making are the promises we are already keeping.  We have reduced our CO2 emissions by 14%, we are on track to reduce them by 60% by 2025 on the 1990 base and we have huge numbers of EVs across London.  They are now really starting to take off, the EVs.  When I was in Japan I drove an incredible Mitsubishi.  What has been disappointing ‑‑

Murad Qureshi AM:  That is in Japan.  That was in Tokyo, not London, and I would suggest that Paris is the capital of EVs now in Europe.

Finally, I just remind you that it is worth checking up whether the meeting is going ahead because I suspect a lot of the fringe and rally meetings around the Paris summit are not going to happen now.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Is that right?  On that, I hope very much that it is business as normal.  What most people around the world will want to do is to show that Paris goes on.

Murad Qureshi AM:  It will go on.  What I am saying is that a lot of the other things around it, like the rallies and the fringe meetings, I do not think will be because of the security concerns.  Obviously that is Paris’s concern.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Really?  You have the advantage.

Nicky Gavron AM:  You are going to the Town Hall.

Murad Qureshi AM:  That is the fringe ‑‑

Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Chair):  Thank you.  Let us bring it back here to City Hall.