Well here’s a bit of irony.
The government brings in a tax designed to boost energy efficiency and drive down carbon emissions and who does it end up harming?
The very scientists trying to conduct research into renewable green energy!
That’s according to this report in the Guardian which says that the CRC bill for some research facilities is likely to amount to hundreds of thousands of pounds, putting jobs and the research itself at risk.
One of the examples given in the report is the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy in Oxfordshire, a facility for research into almost limitless carbon-free energy. They have to use electricity to run their machines, but are expected to be hit with a £400,000 CRC bill next year.
This does all seem a bit bonkers.
The Prospect union is urging the government to exempt energy use where the focus of research contributes directly to public good and government policy, which seems a sensible suggestion.
Britain's main funding body for research centres, the Science and Technology Facilities Council, is trying to persuade ministers to rethink how the scheme applies to scientific laboratories.
All representations have been dismissed by the government (good grief), but the chief scientist, Sir John Beddington, has, according to the report, passed on researchers' concerns to DECC for an ongoing review.
DECC has said:
"We are working on simplifying the CRC scheme to make it more straightforward and reduce burden on participants. Further details of how we plan to do this will be published in the coming months."
There’s a lot about CRC that currently doesn’t make sense – see my previous posts on the subject here.
The sooner the review is concluded the better – both to help businesses know where they stand and also to deal with the absurdity of a tax potentially damaging the very thing it is supposed to be helping.