Pressure mounts for action on energy

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The UK chemical industry has joined the chorus of business leaders calling on Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborn to act on energy in tomorrow’s Budget.

The industry has lined up with major steel and engineering firms to warnthat Britain’s growth prospects will be hit if he fails to ease the burden on high energy users and ensure the UK’s long term energy security.

It has echoed demands from former Sheffield steelman, Martin Temple, chairman of the manufacturers organisation, the EEF.

Mr Temple wants the Government to extend the compensation package for energy intensive users, exempt them from subsidies for renewable electricity and freeze the Carbon Price Floor mechanism.

The chemicals industry is also calling for incentives for combined heat and power projects.

Chemical Industries Association chief executive, Steve Elliott, said: “We cannot continue to load costs on to an industry that needs to be internationally competitive and expect substantial growth to be delivered.

“Companies will simply relocate and in the process take employment opportunities to other countries.

“It’s already happening and I don’t want to see any more of it.

“If we are serious about rebalancing the UK economy in favour of manufacturing then we should be equally serious about recognising and supporting the very industries that help deliver the medicines, cars, planes and houses that we all take for granted.

“I want to export our products and services, not our jobs”

Mr Elliott’s comments follow those made at the Energy Panel Debate, hosted by the Cutlers’ Company in Sheffield in February and organised by the manufacturers’ organisation, the EEF.