Foreign companies building big offshore wind farms will have to explain how they plan to create more British jobs before applying for subsidies, ministers have decided.
The move is needed because of the “galling” fact that the UK has more offshore wind capacity than the rest of the world combined but only employs about 4,000 people locally to support it, said business secretary, Vince Cable.
This is not a “crudely protectionist” effort to stop companies from getting subsidies unless they promise to buy equipment from local businesses, he said, denying it had anything in common with countries such as France that have made overt efforts to spur local production in a range of industries.
“I wouldn’t want us to be equated with France because they’ve historically been very protectionist in their policies and that is not the UK way of doing things,” he said. “But we do share with them a wish to build up a manufacturing base supporting these industries and you have to do something. It’s not just going to happen automatically.