So it’s farewell RDAs, adieu to the Infrastructure Planning Commission, and possibly soon goodbye to the Carbon Trust and the Energy Technologies Institute. That’s right. The long anticipated quango cull has begun.
So far, the reaction from industry has been reasonably positive. Many hailed the decision to replace the RDAs with a £1bn regional growth fund, while the latest bit of consolidation – the likely decision to bring all green investments funds under the auspices of a Green Investment Bank – is viewed by many as a sensible route to scaling up investment in some of the large scale projects considered essential to the UK’s future economy.
But in amongst the positive reactions there are already dissenting voices. Many in the renewables/low carbon sector are worried that such consolidation will mean that support will only be directed at big projects with immediate payback and that small businesses and start-ups – which are arguably in greatest need of government support – will miss out . (Read our latest report on the Green Investment Bank proposal here)
And with further cuts expected elsewhere this is a concern that is likely to resonate beyond the low carbon sector and throughout industry.
In the run up and immediate aftermath of the election the Conservative party repeatedly talked up the importance of long term research and declared itself sceptical over the use of impact assessments in making funding decisions. In its fervour to wield the axe it would do well to remember this.