British subsidies paid to renewable energy producers for onshore wind farms and solar panels are expected to be phased out by the end of the decade.

An email leaked to The Sunday Telegraph and written by Oliver Letwin, the Cabinet Office minister, said  the subsidies, totaling £1.5 billion annually, will have “disappeared” in eight years.

The leaked email, sent by Letwin last week to the president of the Dorset branch of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, reads: ”I anticipate that subsidies for both solar photovoltaic and onshore wind will come down to zero over the next few years and should have disappeared by 2020, since both of these forms of energy are gradually becoming economic without the need for subsidies.”

The Telegraph reports that an analysis of government figures by the House of Commons Library shows that renewable energy subsidies have forced 100,000 families into fuel poverty. By definition, a family is in fuel poverty if they spend more than 10 percent of their household income on heating, cooling and electricity.

Some critics call the subsidy a disguised taxation, unjustly boosting residential energy bills while feeding money to corporations.

“I struggle to see how anyone can argue for a policy that gives huge sums of money to big landowners and the big six energy companies, whilst at the same time it thwarts growth and forces tens of thousands into fuel poverty,” Chris Heaton-Harris, a conservative member of Parliament, told the newspaper. “This policy is not green, progressive or sensible. The Chancellor should take an axe to these subsidies as soon as possible.”

There are more than 3,000 onshore wind turbines in Britain and 4,500 more in various stages of development, The Telegraph reports. Wind energy supporters across Britain point to turbines and other renewables as forward-thinking and environmentally responsible. Critics say they are unsightly and inefficient because the power they produce cannot be stored.

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