This is insane. And cruel to the formerly employed in the UK.
A fortnight ago, the energy minister, Andrea Leadsom, declared grandly that Britain, alone in the world, would commit to a target of reducing net carbon emissions to zero. ‘The question is not whether but how we do it,’ she told Parliament. It is now becoming painfully clear how this target will be reached: not by eliminating our carbon emissions but by exporting them, along with thousands of jobs and much of our manufacturing industry.
This week, Tata Steel announced that its entire UK business is to be put up for sale. That came after Stephen Kinnock, whose South Wales constituency includes Tata’s giant plant at Port Talbot, joined a union delegation to the headquarters of Tata Steel in India to beg the company to keep the plant open. Some 750 job losses have already been announced there; more than 1,000 jobs, including these, will be lost across Britain as our steel industry struggles to compete with lower-cost producers overseas.
Britain has the highest energy costs in Europe, thanks to decisions taken not in Brussels but in Whitehall. Crusaders like Ms Leadsom have, over the years, made sure that our manufacturers feel the force of green levies, unlike Germany, which exempts its own industry. The idea is that by making energy more expensive, people are encouraged to use less of it. This is working very effectively, as the soon-to-be-unemployed Welsh steelworkers will attest. If the plant closes, carbon emissions in Port Talbot will fall dramatically.
All European producers face much higher costs than Chinese steelmakers thanks to the EU Emissions Trading System. But Britain imposes its own green taxes on top of this in the form of the Carbon Price Floor and the Renewables Obligation — an epic act of self-harm. Tata points out that its energy costs for running steel plants in Britain are 25 per cent more than they would be in Germany and 50 per cent more than they would be in France. This is due to decisions by the UK government to spread the pain of green tariffs so that businesses are hit as hard as consumers.
The odds are that the steel being bought from China produces more CO2 than the steel bought from Tata in the UK.
Green offshoring is the suicidal act of idiots. They send the jobs and CO2 production overseas and do nothing for the people who lose their jobs.