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

My hon. Friend makes an important point. The subject of the debate is important, because behind it are jobs and our local economy. I do not wish to see de-industrialisation. The UK has a proud industrial history. We should also recognise that importing products from outside the EU would defeat the point of the emissions trading system. Overall, manufacturers outside the EU are not as well regulated. The electricity generation and the fuels used are more carbon-intensive, and the transportation of goods to market emits additional carbon.

As I said, the matter of housing is frequently raised in the House. The British Ceramic Confederation estimates that the Government’s programme of house building has the potential to create more than 3,000 direct ceramic manufacturing jobs in the UK and give a big boost to the sector and GDP. However, that is not being realised because of the threat of carbon leakage loss and the uncertainty that brings.

Turning to energy costs, brick makers in the UK pay about 80% more for their electricity than the EU average price, according to Eurostat. Despite much mention of the renewables compensation scheme for energy intensive industries, brick makers are not compensated at all in the UK for renewables costs. I am sure my right hon. Friend the Minister will know that seven ceramic manufacturers in the UK are likely to receive renewables compensation, in contrast to more than 100 German ceramic and clay sites. Clearly we do not have a level playing field, and we need one.