Energy-intensive manufacturers are calling for urgent Government intervention to protect industry from gas shortages, warning that UK supplies of gas have been running perilously low and that the consequences of this are harming firms and stifling employment.
Organisations including the British Ceramic Confederation, the British Chambers of Commerce and the TUC claim that temporarily running out of gas altogether would be disastrous for many producers.
Dr Laura Cohen (pictured), chief executive of the British Ceramic Confederation, said: “In March there were times when there was almost no spare gas in the UK – and we believe supply interruptions are inevitable in future unless action is taken immediately.”
During March, gas prices varied between 75p per therm and £1.50 per therm as a result of concerns over supply – in particular when an interconnector at the Bacton gas terminal in Norfolk failed.
Wayne Sheppard, managing director of Ibstock Brick said that if his company had to turn off its kilns at short notice it could cause extremely serious damage, while Dr Adam Marshall, director of policy and external affairs at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “Large-scale investment in plant is often dependent on stability and having confidence in the future. How can these industries be expected to create jobs and wealth if there are serious concerns about the fuel on which they depend?”
At the TUC, head of economics and social affairs Nicola Smith said uncertainty over gas supplies hampered employment.
This material is protected by copyright Ken Hurst 2013.