Powerless to help trade

With the news that steel making in Port Talbot is likely to end soon I wonder why we are still being told that it is only by being in the EU that we can '˜safeguard' jobs?

Friday, 1st April 2016, 9:11 am
Updated Friday, 1st April 2016, 9:16 am

We are told three million jobs depend on being ‘in’ but this has long since been shown to be a nonsense. In a truth which can be easily demonstrated it is being in the EU which costs jobs.

EU state aid rules make helping any British industry by our Government illegal whether this be by grant, loan or tax breaks as it would “distort competition in a way that is harmful to citizens and companies in the EU” and thus the UK Government, be it Conservative or Labour, are unable to help while we remain in the EU.

The other is that in 1975 the UK surrendered all rights to stop the ‘dumping’ of cheap products on UK markets, something we could only end by leaving the EU and retaking our seat at the World Trade Organisation. Again, regardless of party in No 10, we could not have prevented the Chinese off loading their steel onto us under the current regulations.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Currently three new ships are being built for the Royal Navy and hundreds of new tanks, and other vehicles, for the Army. These are being built by foreign, not British, steel because EU procurement regulations mean the MoD can not show a preference for our steel. At a time when British plants are closing our Government is forced by rules made in Brussels to turn its back on our steel producers.

Worse is to come if we remain in. The EU Energy Directive 2020 will add an additional 40% to the cost of electricity as it forces the UK industry towards inefficient, unreliable and very expensive forms of energy.

Outside the EU we could have prevented much of this with short term loans or other temporary assistance to the steel industry and also by removing the high costs of fuel to industry make our steel much less expensive on the world markets.

Bryan Foster