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IMF stats show UK fossil fuels still get billions in subsidies, while renewables slashed

04 August 2015  
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RenewableUK, the wind, wave and tidal energy trade association, says figures from the International Monetary Fund show that fossil fuels are still getting billions of pounds in subsidies every year from the UK Government while it is cutting financial support for renewable energy. The IMF figures include the costs of air pollution and the impact of climate change caused by fossil fuels.

An IMF survey, “How Large Are Global Energy Subsidies?” shows that the UK’s fossil fuel sector is receiving subsidies of more than £26 billion this year - more than £400 per person living in this country. The IMF states that this is 1.4% of UK GDP. For comparison, UK spending on defence is 2.1% of GDP.

The cost of supporting all renewable energy technologies in 2014/15 is £3.5 billion according to figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

RenewableUK’s Deputy Chief Executive Maf Smith said: “The IMF is right to turn the spotlight on the billions of pounds in subsidies which the UK’s fossil fuel sector continues to enjoy at the expense of all of us.

Although there’s been a great deal of scrutiny about the cost of renewable energy, the price that all British taxpayers are still being forced to pay to the oil, coal and gas industries, decades after they became well-established, is eye-watering.

“It’s time for the UK to wake up to the benefits of renewable energy, Moving away from subsidising coal, oil and gas and backing technologies like onshore and offshore wind will help keep bills down and protect consumers.

“But a first step is Government being honest about the true cost of all forms of energy and the value renewables bring”.


  1. IMF figures: 
    See spreadsheet in Country Database “By Product 2015” for UK statistics.
  2. UK defence spending:
  3. Cost of renewables: DECC states that this is £3.5bn in 2014/15 (see table):

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