To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with hon. Members on the implications of his proposals to exclude co-operatives from future tax allowance schemes for community energy projects.
25 March 2015
Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery.
Details of ministerial and permanent secretary meetings with external organisations on departmental business are published on a quarterly basis and are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/hmt-ministers-meetings-hospitality-gifts-and-overseas-travel.
The Autumn Statement 2014 announced that all community energy generation undertaken by qualifying organisations will be eligible for Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) with effect from the date of the expansion of SITR, at which point it will cease to be eligible for the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS), Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) or the Venture Capital Trust scheme (VCTs). To ensure a smooth transition, the Budget 2015 announced that there will be a transition period of six months following the confirmation of State aid approval for the expansion of SITR before eligibility for EIS, SEIS and VCTs is withdrawn for community energy organisations benefiting from subsidies for the generation of renewable energy. The government believes that this is an appropriate notice period providing certainty and stability for affected organisations.
To become a co-operative, a society must be registered by the FCA. A community energy co-operative is defined by reference to conditions as set out by the FCA.
Co-operatives do not qualify for SITR as they are run for the benefit of their members rather than for the benefit of the community. However, co-operatives with a social purpose and which meet other criteria can convert to a community benefit society by free application to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Those that remain co-operatives and benefit from subsidies for the generation of renewable energy will no longer be eligible for EIS, SEIS and VCTs following the end of the six month transition period.