Chancellor mustn’t ‘bottle it’ says chief

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A leading Sheffield businessman has called on Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne not to “bottle it” and to cut energy prices for industry when he makes his Autumn Statement today.

Master Cutler Tony Pedder, who is chairman of Sheffield Forgemasters and a former chief executive of Britain’s biggest steelmaker, Corus – now Tata Steel – was speaking at a dinner for Freemen of the Cutlers’ Company.

He told Freemen of the Company that UK energy prices were too high and the gap between demand and available energy supplies was too tight.

“My priority right now – and I thought it was that of our politicians – is to see some resurgence of our manufacturing sector, some rebalancing of our economy and the creation of some more solid, quality jobs. An uncompetitive energy supply scenario is the wrong recipe for that,” said Mr Pedder

“Chancellor, don’t bottle it – get prices down now for industry, as well as the public, encourage new suppliers into the market and give assurances that we can look forward to this policy and relief for energy-intensive industries being maintained and extended right through the next Government’s term to 2020 at least.”

Mr Pedder repeated calls he made earlier in the year for the Government to scale back green levies, which he says damage competitiveness, and for action to retain additional generating capacity in the short term.

“We need some slowing down of old power station closures and possibly even some short-term refurbishing of some to bring capacity back up quickly,” said Mr Pedder.

The Master Cutler also called on Freemen of the Cutlers’ Company to join him in: “Shouting the case for Sheffield - the Advanced Manufacturing City.”