Dave is in Lanzarote, Sajid Javid is on an ill-timed jolly Down Under and Jeremy Corbyn wants parliament recalled to debate the dying British steel industry. While cheaper Chinese imports may have forced prices down, British steel prices have risen £30 per tonne since Christmas, with EU prices nearly £50 higher than Chinese in November. The EU’s 37 failed anti-dumping measures are just a sideshow to the real problem facing the industry: excessive EU green taxes and carbon caps.
By pledging to cut carbon emissions by “at least 40%” in 2030, Brussels has forced energy companies into a spate of investments and divestments, causing chaos within the industry and sending electricity prices into the stratosphere. In the fracking-friendly USA, electricity costs just 7 pence per kilowatt hour – down 2% from last year. In China the cost of coal power has fallen by 2 pence. In Britain the average price per kilowatt hour for electricity last year was 13.9 pence – over 50% higher. As Kate Hoey says:
“The EU’s regulations on energy production are killing our steel industry. It is impossible for the UK to compete with non-EU countries like the US, where electricity costs half the price, and Norway, where energy is 25 per cent of the UK price. They unlike us are free from dogmatic, ineffective rules on energy sources.”
Even if Osborne wants to intervene, his hands are tied in any bailout situation by strict EU government aid laws. The UK had to grovel to EU bureaucrats for permission to off-set the new higher energy costs for the steel industry. Labour voters and Remain-backing unions like the GMB should face facts – the EU won’t save their members and will stop the government from doing so…