Investment hit

SSE to review green projects after windfall tax

SSE’s Gordonbush wind farm in the Highlands

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s windfall tax will force cutbacks in energy giant SSE’s plans to invest in renewables, says the company’s chief executive.

Mr Hunt last week imposed a 45% tax on the profits of electricity generators, but Alistair Phillips-Davies, boss of the Perth-based business, said the board will have to review its £24 billion project pipeline.

“We still want to spend. We still want to invest. But this windfall tax is going to hit us.” he said in a radio interview.

“It is going to take money away from us and therefore we won’t have as much to invest. We will have to review what we are spending.

“If we end up making more money we will be investing more money. We are cutting our dividend coming up. We are also selling some of our businesses. We are spending far more this decade investing in this country’s infrastructure than we are making in profit.

“We will absolutely have to review some of our key investments, there is no doubt.

“To say that imposing a 45% windfall tax on some areas of our business will not impact on investment plans is nonsense.

“We will just have less money. We may have to give up some projects that we just can’t afford doing.

“Government has been thoughtful We need to get to the right place over the next week or two when they do the detailed legislation and make sure those future investments in projects are protected as much as possible.

‘The windfall tax is going to hit us’ says SSE boss Alistair Phillips-Davies

“But if we have hundreds of millions of pounds less because we have paid it in tax we just simply won’t have as much money.

“We are not returning money to shareholders. At the end of the day we are trying to get all the money we can to develop all the opportunities we so we can invest our way out of this crisis.”

Asked if he was worried that the 45% tax, imposed until 2028, will become permanent, he replied: “I think that’s obviously got to be a concern. Government has got to be careful that they are clear about what’s happening and this is a once and for all.

“Whenever you change the playing field, and this is clearly a significant change .. it does dent investor confidence.

“We have spent a decade-plus building one of the best places in the world to invest in green energy and we have to make sure that we keep it that way.”

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