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UK business lobby group says EU energy rules destroying jobs

14 August 2014

European Union energy rules have played a growing role in 'destroying British jobs', an independent UK business campaign group claims. According to a report by Business for Britain entitled Energy policy and the EU - How a better deal could bring down the cost of energy and save jobs, rising energy costs threaten 1.5 million jobs in the energy intensive sector, with 363,000 being at high risk.

Manufacturers are now considering moving their operations to countries where energy is cheaper, risking “devastating” job losses in the UK, the report warns.

The group concludes that member states need the power to "block, amend or leave" EU laws.

It states that while the EU is not the only reason energy prices have risen, it has played a "significant and growing role in driving up the cost of energy" and consequently in "reducing Britain's industrial output and in destroying jobs." EU energy policies account for up to 9% of the cost of energy for the Energy Intensive Industries, according to the paper, and this could rise to just under 16% by 2030.

BfB acknowledges there is a good chance that the UK would have introduced similar policies had it been outside of the EU and that the UK has in some areas gone considerably further than the EU in introducing expensive policies. Despite this the UK “enjoys relatively low energy prices compared to many other EU countries”.

Matthew Elliott, chief executive of Business for Britain, said: “Renegotiation offers a once in a generation opportunity to get a better deal for British businesses and fix the EU's broken energy policy. It's time for the Commission to make good on its commitment to subsidiarity and allow member states to decide themselves how they meet EU emissions targets.”

But a Department of Energy and Climate Change spokeswoman said that low carbon policies were creating jobs in the UK.

“Our move to a low-carbon future is bringing thousands of jobs and investment to every corner of the country. Since 2010, £45 billion has been invested, and by 2020 we expect to see 250,000 jobs supported by the low carbon sector,” she said.

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