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Cameron Scored ‘Own Goal’ With Solar Subsidy Cuts, CBI Says

Prime Minister David Cameron’s government scored an “own goal” by cutting subsidies for solar energy four months earlier than planned, the U.K.’s biggest business lobby group said.

John Cridland, director general of the CBI, said executives have lost trust in the administration after the decision on Oct. 31 to reduce the subsidy as much as 55 percent beginning on Dec. 12. Ministers previously said the current rate would be paid until April 2012.

“This is the latest in a string of government own goals,” Cridland said, according to excerpts of a speech he gave last night e-mailed by the CBI. “Moving the goal posts doesn’t just destroy projects and jobs, it creates a mood of uncertainty that puts off investors and they wonder what’s coming next.”

The comments are a blow to Cameron’s effort to be the “greenest government ever” by supporting clean energy technology and luring companies to build offshore wind farms and install solar panels.

Cridland cited other examples of altered policies, including taxes on North Sea oil and gas and the conversion of the Carbon Reduction Commitment, a program to cut emissions from companies, universities and local authorities, from a revenue-redistributing system into a tax.

“This is a deliberate kick in the teeth for people who are doing their best to protect themselves from soaring energy bills,” said Caroline Flint, a lawmaker overseeing energy policy for the opposition Labour Party. “The cuts to solar go too far and too fast, and will have a devastating impact.”

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