Stoke & Staffordshire

Carbon taxes 'will hurt' Stoke-on-Trent ceramics

Radical government reforms are needed for Stoke-on-Trent's ceramics industry to survive, according to the British Ceramic Confederation.

It said businesses could be in danger of being priced out of the market because of carbon efficiency taxes affecting production costs.

By 2050, emissions should be 80% less than they were in 1990, Dr Laura Cohen from the Confederation said.

The government said it wants to work with the industry, a spokesman said.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change said: "We have always been clear that our climate targets must be achieved as cheaply and as fairly as possible.

'Competitive disadvantage'

"Government is keen to work with the ceramics industry to understand the challenges they face in a move to a low carbon economy while maintaining their competitiveness."

Dr Cohen said companies, large and small firms were very nervous about what was coming.

The industry uses gas and electricity and stopped using coal several years ago, the confederation said.

Firms are taxed on the amount of CO2 they produce using according to EU and UK levels and how energy efficient they are, the spokesman added.

Strict UK targets could force companies to close with products being made and imported from abroad, she added.

"These products are going to cost more to make and they are competing with products in less regulated economies overseas, both in Europe and outside Europe, and this will mean that the UK is a competitive disadvantage."

Firms have to meet the EU targets but there are also specific UK laws, taxes and targets on top of that, Dr Cohen said.

Tony Fullager, factory manager at Ibstock Brick factory in Newcastle-under-Lyme, said: "Throughout the whole evolution of this industry we've attempted to save energy all the time because it's best practice.

"But simply the fact we've got more taxes imposed upon us will not necessarily move that further up the agenda."

The Confederation represents 100 companies, more than 90% of the UK ceramic industry's manufacturing capacity, the organisation said.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites