The UK government has given nearly twice the amount of financial support to the fossil fuel industry than it has to renewable energy providers, new research has found.

Research by the Overseas Development Institute thinktank found that in 2013-14 the government gave an average of £5.9bn worth of subsidies a year to fossil fuel firms, compared to £3.5bn to renewable companies in 2014-15.

The UK has also announced that it would end subsidies for new onshore wind farms, while cutting support for solar power.

In addition, between 2009 and 2013, the UK provided £5.2bn for energy in developing countries, 43 per cent of which went to the production of fossil fuels compared to 19 per cent for renewable energy projects.

Four of the UK’s top five biggest overseas energy projects involved fossil fuels.

The report also found that the UK is the only G20 nation to dramatically increase its fossil fuel subsidies:

The UK stands out as a member of the G20 that, despite its pledge to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, has dramatically increased its support to the production of fossil fuels in recent years.

George Osborne announced new tax breaks for North Sea oil and gas production earlier in 2015, expected to cost taxpayers a further £1.7bn by 2020.

Neil Thorns, the director of advocacy for aid agency Cafod, said:

Continuing to back the development of fossil fuels just doesn’t make sense in light of the UK’s goals on climate change and poverty.

A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said:

We are committed to meeting our decarbonisation targets - we've made record investments in renewables and are focusing on lower-carbon secure energy sources, such as nuclear and shale gas.

However this will not happen overnight, oil and gas will continue to play a role so we can ensure hardworking families and businesses have access to secure, affordable energy they can rely on.

HT Financial Times

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