The usual leftard suspects have been fighting a rearguard action in defence of their excuse that China – not insane green energy policy – was responsible for the death of British steel.
But Sanjeev Gupta disagrees. And he should know because he’s the white knight venture capitalist who has looked at the figures and volunteered to come to British steel’s rescue by replacing the outmoded blast furnaces at Port Talbot with more efficient electric arc furnaces.
No, Gupta doesn’t think protectionism against Chinese dumping would or could have saved the steel industry:
He also said imposing tariffs on imports of Chinese steel is not the way to save Britain’s steel sector. “Protection makes you inefficient, it can sustain uncompetitiveness,” Mr Gupta, added.
What he definitely will need, though, he says, if he’s to build a profitable business on the ashes of the old one is “relief from high energy prices.”
This profile in an Indian newspaper draws a similar conclusion:
The United Kingdom was praised across the world for becoming the first country to put in place a legally binding act to counter the climate change, although an attempt to replicate the same at the Copenhagen Climate Summit in 2009 failed. At its home turf, however, it was facing resistance from industrialists who saw the act as a threat to their profits and in some cases, economic sustainability.
“What started off as a minor inconvenience has become a major problem for the industries,” said Jeremy Nicholson, the director of energy intensive users group. “The government put in place annually escalating targets for electricity and signed the UK for a target by [the year] 2020 that was extraordinarily expensive.”
According to World Steel Association, electricity accounts for between 20% and 40% of the manufacturing costs. EUIG suggests that the UK steelmakers pay £80-90/MWh (between Rs 7,500 to 8,500/MWh). About £34/MWh (an equivalent of Rs 3,200/MWh) is owing to the “green taxes”. To make matters worse, the UK doesn’t have a nationalised energy sector and its industries pay among the highest of costs for electricity compared to its European and Chinese counterparts.
Mind you, let’s not forget the role the EU played in this disaster too. As the Express reveals, it actually loaned the Chinese millions of pounds to build new steel factories – even as it was running down European industry with its punitive decarbonisation programme and its obsession with expensive renewable energy.
As our own Nick Hallett discovered on a trip to Port Talbot the other day, there’s not a person in the town who wants anything other than exit from the European Union. Given what the EU has done to our industry, is it any wonder?