Taxation threatening the future of heavy industry

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AFTER saving the Redcar Blast Furnace, thanks to the efforts of SOS (Save our Steel) and SSI, the Thai Steel Corporation, we now face the prospect of possibly losing the Alcan aluminium smelter at Lynemouth, as well as the power station.

Once again it seems the taxation proposals from the coalition government appear to be making it impossible for what is left of our heavy industries to continue, especially when, according to reports, they intend to raise British carbon taxes above EU levels.

Additionally, when you consider that the government is raising taxes on the oil companies in such a way that they are deterring offshore oil and gas exploration and production, everything they do appears calculated to render British manufacturing uncompetitive with the rest of the world.

No doubt the prime minister, who used to cycle to work followed by a limousine carrying his ‘red boxes’, and the chancellor of the exchequer can bask in glory at the various international gatherings for their ‘green policies’ whilst Britain shuts down.

Has it not occurred to them that we need the products of such industries to construct the necessary equipment to make use of the sustainable resources we so desperately need if we are to keep the lights on after 2015.

If they think that we can rely upon purchasing equipment manufactured abroad, it will make the green house gas problems even worse when you consider the extra transport emissions.

I have bad news for them – atmospheric carbon does not stop at national boundaries.

Sadly, since 1979 we have suffered a succession of London centric governments, both Tory and Labour, who seemed unable to see beyond financial services and retail as drivers for the economy.

It might pay the threatened Lynemouth workers, union and community to set up campaign group similar to Teesside’s SOS.

It could be called ‘Save Our Aluminium Products’ (SOAP), a catchy acronym.

I would be more than happy to lend my support to such a campaign, even though I am now a 74-year-old pensioner.

BILL SHARPLES

Wallsend