25 MAY 2011
By Helen Power | The Australian
TATA, the Indian steel giant, has blamed the UK government's environmental policies as it cut 1500 jobs in one of Britain's poorest regions.
The company, which took much of the former British Steel business five years ago, will axe 8 per cent of its British workforce. Its Scunthorpe plant is to close with the loss of 1200 jobs. A further 300 jobs will go in Teesside.
Unions described the cuts as a "devastating blow" to the region, which is already home to some of Britain's worst unemployment blackspots.
Karl-Ulrich Kohler, Tata Steel's head of Europe, blamed the cuts on the decline of the construction industry, but added that new EU environmental laws and planned British legislation had compounded the company's problems.
"Europe's steel industry is in danger of being made uncompetitive in the world market because of European taxes on UK emissions," said Dr Kohler.
"But here in Britain we are facing a double whammy of carbon targets."
Under the coalition deal, the government plans to bring in the toughest carbon emissions targets in the world by 2027. The EU has already said that member states must slash emissions, but Britain will go farther and cut them by 80 per cent by 2050.
Godfrey Bloom, the UKIP MEP in whose Yorkshire & North Lincolnshire constituency the Scunthorpe cuts will fall, said the "misguided" carbon legislation had made "a bad commercial situation far, far worse".
He added: "Certain extra costs and additional targets are clearly undermining business confidence. The result, as we see, is lost jobs."
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