Leading UK energy trade body, the Energy and Utilities Alliance (EUA) has accused the UK Government of “selling British manufacturers down the river”, in suggesting British boiler makers will be fined when supplying UK consumers but foreign manufacturers won’t.
Writing to the Minister, Lord Callanan, Mike Foster the CEO of EUA asked what assurances German, France and the Netherlands had given him to pay the so-called “boiler tax” of £5000 for every unit sold in excess of the Whitehall dictated target. Mr Foster also taunted the Minister to say whether President Xi of China had agreed to pay such fines.
Mr Foster said:
“This whole shambles of a Soviet-style production quota, with fines for selling items the state hasn’t agreed to, is a relic of a by-gone era. The Berlin Wall hasn’t come down for this Minister.”
“In the real world of international trade, applying fines to British home-produced goods but not imported ones just sells our own manufacturing industry down the river. And in these post-Brexit days, I’d be surprised if President Macron of France has agreed to pay such fines. I would be flabbergasted if President Xi of China had too.”
“I suspect those who drew up this daft policy didn’t even check to see if it breached our international trade obligations under the newly agreed Brexit arrangements. A £5000 levy on each imported boiler sold in the UK might attract the attention of the EU’s trade negotiators. If the government has no plans to fine overseas business, as it does our own, then it’s simply saying farewell to jobs of British workers.”
“Our industry has asked the government to meet to discuss our real concerns but our request has fallen on deaf ears. It seems, quite literally, as they want the British boiler industry to just go away.”
The Letter to Lord Callanan reads as follows:
Clean Heat Market Mechanism clarification urgently needed
I am writing on behalf of the 300 plus members of Energy and Utilities Alliance (EUA) to obtain urgent clarification on issues arising following publication last week of the consultation document Clean Heat Market Mechanism.
Can we have your assurance that you have agreed the terms of the proposed market mechanism with the EU? In particular, Germany, France and the Netherlands have strong boiler manufacturing industries and we are seeking your confirmation that they will be included in the remit of the scheme. What mechanism is in place to transfer any penalty from EU manufacturers? Has the Department for International
Trade agreed to the terms of the proposed market mechanism fine, given it could be construed as a tariff on imported goods into the UK?
The same assurance is sort from one of the most powerful global manufacturers. What assurance have you received from President Xi of China, that any fines levied by the UK government for over-supply of boilers will be paid?
Before we respond to the consultation it is important to have the assurance that you have undertaken due diligence regarding the international trade ramifications of the policy. There needs to be a level playing field between UK manufacturers and those based overseas. Failure to operate this policy fairly will be a total betrayal of successful British business and British workers.
Finally, given the nature of the policy, which applies to manufacturers of fossil fuel boilers, what definition is being applied for the term “manufacturing”? A precise definition is needed, again ahead of the consultation deadline, so that our members can address the questions based upon their current working practices.
I look forward to hearing from you.
CEO Energy and Utilities Alliance