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

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his intervention. I happen to disagree with him in terms of this debate. In fact, I have yet to declare my position on Europe, but it will become clearer later today.

The UK has some of the most energy-efficient manufacturing plants in the world. Specific energy consumption—in other words, energy efficiency—in the entire ceramics sector has improved by around 30% in just over a decade. To do this, hundreds of millions of pounds have been invested to make many UK plants as energy-efficient as is currently possible, and yet they could all be forced to buy all of their carbon allowance if the tiering proposal is accepted. I ask the Minister this simple question: is that fair?

The uncertainty in the industry caused by the proposals and the rise of imports means that future investment is becoming difficult and unsteady. It will make the UK even more vulnerable to higher carbon non-EU imports. We need stability and continuity. As someone who comes from a business background, I know how important that is for businesses from all sectors. It is only through stability and continuity that they feel safe and secure in investing in the future.