A campaign by Co-operatives UK, renewable energy organisations and community groups has secured the reversal of a Treasury decision that would have severely disadvantaged communities hoping to benefit from local renewable energy schemes.
In this year's budget came an initial decision, met with dismay by communities across the UK, that renewable energy initiatives benefitting from the feed-in tariff would no longer qualify for the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS), a tax relief for investors in small high risk businesses.
Yesterday - following the campaign – the Treasury announced that it will reverse this decision and exempt co-operative societies and community interest companies, allowing them to benefit from EIS.
Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK, the trade association for co-operative enterprises, said:
"I'm delighted to see government recognition of the value that co-operative and community-led renewable energy initiatives bring.
"We know of at least 20 communities that are planning a community share launch soon, whose business model is based on obtaining both FITs and EIS."
Paul Monaghan, Head of Social Goals and Sustainability at The Co-operative Group, said:
"We know from our support for renewable energy co-operatives, that they are driven by very committed groups of people either working voluntarily or on modest salaries to realise schemes that will bring benefit to whole communities. It is not an easy path to take so we are delighted to see this restriction removed."