High Energy Bills Are Threatening UK Export Hopes

  • Date: 17/02/14
  • Tim Wallace, City A.M.

Britain risks missing the government’s export targets because high energy bills make it hard to compete overseas, manufacturing group EEF warned today.

George Osborne wants UK firms’ exports to hit £1 trillion per year in 2020, a target requiring growth of nine per cent each year.

But by that stage the government expects taxes to make up 50 per cent of firms’ energy bills – and businesses fear other countries’ lower energy bills make it hard to sell British-made goods abroad.

“For many manufacturers, energy costs represent a significant cost to their business, and rising costs are eating into already squeezed margins,” EEF’s report warned.

“Even in Europe there are significant differences. Larger business users in countries including Germany, Denmark and Italy currently receive significant subsidies on energy taxes and low-carbon energy support.”

The extra taxes and charges here are 280 per cent more than those levied in the US and Russia, for very energy intensive firms like steel manufacturers, EEF estimates.

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