EU and the Western Powerhouse

The South West has incredible renewable energy resources.

A report from the Resilience Centre in the Forest of Dean calculated that this has the potential to create 122,000 jobs across the region and add over £4bn a year to the regional economy. This is what we call the Western Powerhouse. But our government is determined to develop fracking and new nuclear stations even though these make us dependent on the Chinese and will destroy our economy and our health.
As members of the EU we are bound to meet the renewable energy targets set by EU law. This has the ambitious aim of ensuring 20% of EU energy comes from renewables by 2020. Flying in the face of an extraordinary potential in the area of renewables, our government is nonetheless one of those that tries to undermine more ambitious targets at European level.

Germany is going through an energy revolution that is giving power to the people. In the past decade the share of renewable electricity has risen from 6% to nearly 25%. More than half of the investment in renewables has been made by small investors, meaning that this transition to renewables has empowered local communities and and brought great wealth to rural communities.

While our failure to follow this example and invest in this sector that could create so many economic opportunities is very disappointing, it is clear that things will be much worse for our renewables industry if we were to leave the EU. It is only our European targets that is preventing further job losses and waste of renewable resources in the South West.

Our Steel Industry Needs European Cooperation

The story of Port Talbot is a classic example of government deceit and incompetence.

Sajid Javid has had the gall to blame the EU for not introducing tariffs on Chinese steel, which is being dumped on world markets and destroying higher-quality European production facilities. But it was the British government that blocked these higher tariffs that were proposed by the EU Commission, arguing for free trade as part of the national kowtow to China. So our government has refused to protect our steel industry in order to attract Chinese cash and is now deceitfully blaming Brussels for failure to act.

So would we be better off outside the EU where we could set our own tariffs on Chinese steel? There are two reasons why this clearly would not be the case. First, it was our government that was blocking the tariffs on Chinese steel at European level so we would be unlikely to see them imposed in the UK. Secondly, we are a small steel producer on our own but much stronger in the world markets when we work alongside the industries of Germany, France, and Italy.

Our government has kowtowed to the Chinese but they have proved themselves to be bad allies, now imposing 46% tariffs on European steel. We would be much better off playing a constructive role in EU and working with our European partners to protect the European steel industry and steel jobs across the continent.

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