Ceramic and Brick Industries

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:29 pm on 15th June 2016.

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Photo of Wendy Morton Wendy Morton Conservative, Aldridge-Brownhills 4:29 pm, 15th June 2016

The hon. Lady makes a very valuable point. I will focus more on bricks, because they are produced in my constituency, but I appreciate and understand that this issue is not only about bricks but about clay pipes. When we look around the country, we often hear stories about, for example, the sewers under London. They have been in place probably for centuries, using British-manufactured clay products, pipes, bricks and lots of other things as well. I thank her for making that point.

To meet the UK demand for new housing, we will need a 60% uplift in clay products for over a decade. Unfortunately, rising demand for bricks and clay roof tiles has been met by unprecedented levels of imports. We need to encourage and focus on investment here in the UK, and consider future innovation. In 2014, brick imports accounted for 25% of sales in this country, representing a direct loss of around £80 million per year for the UK economy. The rising rate of imports of heavy clay from outside Europe shows how the EU ETS phase 4 will not really work if the industry loses its full carbon leakage status.