WITH the prospect of industry being shut down in the wake of the energy and CO2 crisis, the Tory government has struck a deal with a carbon dioxide producer in the UK by subsidising them with vast quantities of taxpayers’ money.
The leader of the Unite union, and the boss of UK Steel have produced a similarly worded statement in which they both say that PM Johnson needs to come back from his holidays and ‘bang heads together’.
The continuation of the gas supply is vital to food and drink production however, using public money to fund private enterprise opens the door to a barrage of industries asking for tax bailouts.
The Treasury and the business department are in talks about tax money support for other firms.
It follows Treasury briefings on Sunday denying any such negotiations were underway.
Under the CO2 deal, the government said the industry had agreed new terms that would run until January 2022.
A government statement said: ‘CO2 suppliers have agreed to pay CF Fertilisers a price for the CO2 it produces that will enable it to continue operating while global gas prices remain high, drawing on support from industry and delivering value for money for the taxpayer.’
Gareth Stace, director general of UK Steel, said: ‘With the reported government infighting between the Treasury and BEIS, the Prime Minister now needs to bang ministerial heads together, take control and remember that if he does nothing, then his levelling-up ambition will be left in tatters.
‘I’m sure he can get on the phone and get talking to them but to my mind, now is not the time for a Prime Minister to be on holiday, from the steel sector point of view.’
Unite union general secretary Sharon Graham said: ‘I call upon the prime minister to get a grip on this crisis and bang heads together. The standoff between ministers and industry is irresponsible and threatens jobs and our recovery.
‘Our energy sector is in crisis; suppliers are going bust and homeowners are facing massive price hikes. Added to this, the failure to guarantee the UK’s energy security and to properly plan for and invest in the future threatens thousands of jobs for construction in our “new nuclear” sector.
‘We are at a crossroads now and the only responsible way to respond to the problems before us is collectively. Both business and the industries have to sit down with Unite and our sister manufacturing and energy unions to develop a plan to get through these coming weeks and months – and to use this moment to ensure we are never again in this position.
‘The chronic instability in our industry caused by years of under investment, short-term and poor decisions and hands-off government has to be addressed once and for all.’