Douglas Carswell

31 MAR 2016

Vote leave and free the energy market to save the steel industry

The British steel industry is in trouble. Why? Globalisation and Chinese steel dumping are a factor. But there is another major cause: our own misguided energy policy. So can we change it? Not unless we leave the EU.

Britain's energy market is rigged. Anti-CO2 taxes, subsidies, and caps on fossil fuel generation have driven up energy costs by billions of pounds a year. Restrictions on coal generation have eroded one of Britain's key advantages: ample coal reserves.

While energy-intensive businesses in Britain have seen their bills rocket, manufacturers in the US, China, and India have made the most of low global fuel prices. It's no surprise that our manufacturers are struggling to compete.

The only way to make our industry competitive is to cut the CO2 taxes and level the playing field. But as long as we're in the EU, we can't. The EU's Emissions Performance Standard, Large Combustion Plant Directive, and Emissions Trading Scheme have cut our fossil fuel generation and raised our costs – and we are powerless to do anything about it.

If we vote Leave, though, there is a lot we can do. As Roger Helmer, UKIP's Energy Spokesman, set out in our recent policy paper, an independent Britain could cut energy costs, secure generating capacity, and create efficient new technology, all by setting the energy market free.

Britain may no longer have a comparative advantage in heavy industry, but that doesn't mean we should be making life unnecessarily difficult for our manufacturers with artificial costs. A government that truly believed in giving British steel a viable future would back Brexit.

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