The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West Peter Black has welcomed an announcement in the UK budget statement that will directly benefit energy intensive industries such as Tata Steel and help to secure jobs there.
In the House of Commons today the Chancellor of the Exchequer set out a package of reforms to radically reduce the costs of energy policy for business, particularly for manufacturing, while improving security of supply and maintaining the government's ambition for the deployment of new renewable generation.
The Chancellor told the country that this package will benefit every household, business and region in the country saving a total of up to £7bn by 2018/19, but particularly the most energy intensive manufacturers, around 80% of which are based in the North of England, Scotland and Wales. He said that it will improve incentives for companies to return their manufacturing to Britain, and help existing firms compete in the global economy.
"This announcement will particularly help industries such as Tata Steel," said Mr. Black, "helping them to reduce costs and secure jobs. It shows that the Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Business, Vince Cable, who has been in discussions with these businesses for some time, has been listening and action has been taken.
"Energy intensive sectors make up 35% of UK exports of manufactured goods. Lowering energy costs is therefore vital for the international competitiveness of UK manufacturing. All businesses will see their electricity bills reduce as a result of this package: in total up to £6bn by 2018/19. Every business will benefit no matter their size. For example, the typical medium sized business will save £100,000 by 2018/19.
"Those companies that use electricity intensively will see radical cost savings: a typical compensated Energy intensive industry will save on average around £19m by 2018/19. This will significantly improve the competitiveness of the UK economy.
"The business energy package will benefit households too, taking £15 off the average household bill, in addition to the £50 on average the government saved for households in the Autumn Statement, demonstrating the Liberal Democrats in government continue to take decisive action to reduce people's bills."