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Energy-intensive Industries

Volume 528: debated on Thursday 19 May 2011

18. If his Department will undertake an impact assessment of the effect of energy regulation on the competitiveness of energy-intensive industries. (56269)

The Government intend that UK-based energy-intensive industries will play a full part in, and benefit from, the transition to a low-carbon economy. My Department is working with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to develop measures to help to improve energy efficiency and reduce electricity costs for such important companies. As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced on Tuesday, further announcements will be made by the end of the year.

I thank the Minister for that reply, and may I also thank the Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change, the hon. Member for Bexhill and Battle (Gregory Barker), who has responsibility for climate change, for the Government’s decision to support the ceramics sector in Brussels today?

Businesses in my constituency welcome the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills-Department of Energy and Climate Change working party on energy-intensive industries, but will the Minister ensure that it focuses on international competitiveness, because our energy-intensive businesses simply cannot pass on unilateral energy costs in a global marketplace?

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his question, and for the work that he is doing to raise those important issues in the House and in the new parliamentary Committee. Without any doubt, we are profoundly concerned about the risk of carbon leakage. It would be absolutely absurd for British companies to move overseas, taking jobs with them, only for us to continue to import those products and for carbon emissions to go unabated or even worse in other parts of the world. That is why there is such clear, joined-up thinking between DECC, the Treasury and BIS to ensure that we come up with a comprehensive range of measures to support those critical industries.