School hit with giant tax bill for installing solar panels
Pupils are being punished after going 'extra mile' to fund-raise, says Eleanor Palmer headteacher
14 February, 2017 — By Tom Foot
Children from Eleanor Palmer at the Treasury [Pic: 10:10 campaign]
SOLAR panels installed on the top of one of Camden’s best performing primaries has left the school facing a tax bill of thousands of pounds.
Pupils from Eleanor Palmer Primary School handed in letters to the Treasury on Thursday calling on the chancellor Philip Hammond to scrap plans to hike business rates to state schools with “rooftop solar rigs”.
The Tufnell Park School set up 120 solar panels last July – weeks before the Government made its announcement.
Headteacher Kate Frood said: “From solar film nights to fancy dress for ‘Blue Monday’ last January – our pupils really went the extra mile to see the school go solar. They don’t deserve to be punished for all their hard work and they don’t want other schools to miss out either.”
The planned changes, which come into effect in April, would not affect academies, “free” or private schools because of their charitable status.
The charity 10:10’s SolarsSchools campaign helped Eleanor Palmer put up its solar panels – the school raised more than £19,000 through a range of activities in 2015 and 2016. It was estimated that the panels would earn more than £6,000 a year through energy savings.
At the time, the school announced: “We are now cutting carbon emissions and helping to tackle climate change as well as cutting the school energy bill.”
Cecily Spelling, campaign manager at 10:10, said: “It’s scandalous that schools like Eleanor Palmer will be punished for going solar. That’s why we’re standing with these amazing pupils as they call on Philip Hammond to rethink this nonsensical measure.”
A Greenpeace petition calling on the chancellor to rethink the hike has already received over 125,000 signatures.