The UK government has lost a Supreme Court appeal over cuts to solar power subsidies.

The government had wanted to backdate the cuts to December 12. However two earlier court hearings had ruled this was unlawful was a consultation period was still running at that date.

Solar power plant

Today the Supreme Court refused the government the right to appeal against those earlier decisions, and said the introduction date of the cuts should be March 3.

Projects completed after this date will be subject to a tariff cut of as much as 55 per cent.

The Supreme Court said it refused the application because it didn’t “raise an arguable point of law of general public importance”.

The decision has been welcomed by business and renewables groups and companies.

Rhian Kelly, CBI director for business environment policy at the Confederation of British Industry, said: “What’s important now is that the government learns the lessons from this sorry solar saga. As it puts the finishing touches to reforms to electricity markets, it must be sure it creates a stable, predictable policy framework which leads to investor confidence and generates jobs.”

David Hunt, a director of renewables firm Eco Environments, said: “The Supreme Court has reached the right decision today, but the greatest shame is that the government refused to back down weeks ago. By blindly pursuing their appeal bid all the way to the highest court they have caused untold damage to the solar industry and left their much trumpeted green credentials in tatters.”

The government’s energy secretary Edward Davey said he was “disappointed” by the decision but added the ruling “draws a line under the case”.

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