Chancellor relieves pressure on ceramics industry

20th Mar 2013 Midlands

The potteries industry in Stoke-on-Trent has received a boost from the Budget and is set to be exempt from carbon capture charges.

Chancellor George Osborne said he had been persuaded by the 'passionate' arguments of Stoke-on-Trent MP Tristram Hunt about the damage energy costs are doing to the city's "famous" ceramics industry.

From 2014, the industrial processes involved in ceramics manufacturing will be exempt from the climate change levy.

Osborne added that in the spending round the government will also provide support for energy intensive industries beyond 2015.

"The HM [Tristram Hunt] for Stoke on Trent Central has argued passionately and in a non-partisan way about the damage energy costs are doing to his city's famous ceramics industry – and he's persuaded me" Osborne told the Commons.

Dr Laura Cohen, chief executive of the British Ceramic Confederation, based in Stoke, said: "We welcome the announcement to exempt ceramics and other industries from the full costs of the climate change levy from next year.

"This is an important signal to companies in these sectors that the UK government has understood the cumulative climate change-related tax burden in the UK and is taking the threat to international competitiveness seriously.

"We look forward to working through the practical details while continuing to meet our challenging climate change agreement targets."

Energy taxes have been introduced by the government to fund renewable energy programmes, such as the building of more nuclear power stations, and to help meet targets to reduce CO2 emissions.

Potteries companies would be hit particularly hard by any carbon levy as they use a lot of energy to fire their kilns.

"Creating a low carbon economy should be done in a way that creates jobs rather than costing them," the Chancellor said.

Osborne made a nod to Lord Heseltine's proposal for a single competitive pot of money for which regional areas can bid.

The government accepted the majority of the Tory peer's proposals from his No Stone Unturned report on Monday (18 March 2013).

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