South Down Councillor Cadogan Enright is warning local businesses to prepare now for a tax on their carbon emissions set to be introduced in April next year.

He has also warned that the government’s plans to implement the Carbon Reduction Commitment is nothing more than a stealth tax that will disproportionally damage our local economy.

Cllr Cadogan Enright said “The original idea of the CRC was a fund to help businesses and households to modify their buildings to be cheaper to run, and to use local renewable energy. It was to be funded by a tax on carbon-emitting businesses. But the Lib-Con coalition has turned this sensible proposal into a stealth tax by keeping the fund for central government”.

“Businesses also need to be warned that the Carbon Trust is also set to lose 40% of its current funding and is expected to stop its free carbon/energy audit service for businesses within one year. Thus any business that has been putting off seeking this service needs to contact the Carbon Trust now,” said Cllr Enright.

Councillor Enright said: “The Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) was initially designed to incentivise large private and public sector bodies to increase energy efficiency. By charging for carbon credits and rewarding those who performed well with financial pay back, the scheme would have encouraged investment in low carbon technologies. It was a carrot and stick approach designed to reduce carbon emissions, but now the government has removed the carrot and all we are left with is the stick – a stealth tax.”

Cadogan Enright pointed out that “This will have a particularly devastating impact in Northern Ireland as our private and public bodies will be disproportionately affected. With the publication of departmental draft budgets we are already seeing the impact of the UK government’s slash and burn policies. This will further add to the misery and will likely result in further jobs losses and cuts in services.”

“Our private sector will also be hit hard. “Companies are already struggling with the pressure of ever-increasing oil prices. The addition of the new CRC stealth tax puts at risk any chance we have of economic recovery. Money raised by the scheme will go straight to the Treasury so it is essentially a way of clawing back money from our block grant. The government is literally giving with one hand and taking away with another.”

“It is yet another example of the government hijacking what were well intentioned and well designed ‘Green’ incentives and using them to make money – not reduce waste which they were initially designed to do. Northern Ireland will suffer most as we are so far behind the UK in making energy efficiencies which is something that our Ministers must take responsibility for,” said the South Down Councillor.

“The CRC has been on the cards for a number of years, so whilst I abhor the changes made by the Con/Lib Government, the NI Executive should have ensured we were better prepared.”

“It therefore now falls to local business to be prepared in order to minimize the amount that they will have to pay once this tax has been introduced next year. I have published a list of recommendations on my web-site that local business can do to minimize the cost of energy and the CRC to themselves going forward at

,” Concluded Cadogan Enright.

By Cadogan