Members of the Aluminium Federation (ALFED) warned Minister for Business and Energy Michael Fallon at a meeting in Whitehall on Monday (January 13) that soaring green taxes were standing in the way of investment-led growth.
ALFED told Mr Fallon that world demand for aluminium is forecast to double from 40m tonnes per annum to 80m tonnes by 2025. If Britain and the European Union remain wedded to high taxes on energy, then manufacturers and suppliers will look to other economies in which to base production operations.
Speaking after the meeting, ALFED CEO Will Savage said: “We really appreciate the Minister taking the time to listen to our concerns and sincerely hope that the message we delivered will make an impact amongst the UK’s top policymakers.
“Since 2010 Britain has lost 87% of its primary aluminium industry and this is down to the simple economics of energy prices. With some aluminium companies reporting 20% of their running costs going to energy, it’s clear that escalating green taxes are proving prohibitive to our industry. It’s no exaggeration to say that the cost of energy in countries beyond the EU can be half of what it is here.
“It is hard to believe that the UK’s aluminium industry is prevented from taking full advantage of this huge demand for aluminium products by excessive regulatory cost burdens. But we know from talking to our members that decisions about investment are being made against Britain’s uncompetitive tax framework.”
Mr Savage added that ALFED is scheduled to meet with Mr Fallon again in six months, to give further updates on aluminium industry trends.
“The establishment of this dialogue will hopefully prove useful to the industry, as more than ever we need to have the ear of Government,” he said.
Mr Savage was joined at the meeting by David Ian Jones, works director with Rio Tinto Alcan in Fort William, Dr Gerd Goetz, director general of the European Aluminium Association, and Simon MacVicker, president of ALFED and Managing Director of Bridgnorth Aluminium.