Farage launches attack on EU for British Steel COLLAPSE – 25,000 jobs at risk
The Brexit Party leader blamed the European Emissions Trading Scheme for the collapse of British Steel, which is likely put around 25,000 jobs within the UK steel industry at risk. During a heated European elections debate with Lib Dem leader Vince Cable for The Telegraph, Mr Farage claimed the company was propelled into financial difficulties as a result of the EU’s climate policy. Mr Farage said: “It is the European Emissions Trading scheme that got the country into its financial difficulties.
“It is ridiculous. And I am not a protectionist, but the ridiculous dumping by China of steel over the last few years to basically increase their market share.
“And right now today, if we wanted as a nation to put money in to save British Steel, we are not allowed to because of EU state aid rules.
“And Vince, I am saying that we, the decision as to whether let British steel go under or save it should be a decision taken by us and not the European Union.”
But Mr Cable insisted Britain is allowed to have a say on whether to allow insolvency to take place, adding: “I administered industrial policy for five years.”
The Brexit Party leader then claimed if Britain had left the EU as planned on March 29 then British Steel would have been saved.
He said: “Absolutely we could. And now we can’t because it is the European Commission who we can’t vote for and we can’t remove and it is their decision.”
Mr Cable fired back and said: “I was responsible for industrial policy for five years and numerous state aid cases came up. In not a single case were we turned down.”
But Mr Farage continued to grill the Lib Dem leader. He blasted: “Where is the power, Vince? Was it your decision or ultimately the European Commissions?”
The Lib Dem leader said: “Of course, we had to get the support of the European Commission for perfectly good reasons to prevent unfair competition.”
When Mr Farage demanded the Lib Dem MP “be honest” and admit it was the EU that had the final say, Mr Cable said: “The ultimate decision was. And with the effective lobbying of my Government and the Parliament, we won the case. Every time.”
Thousands of jobs have been put at risk today following the announcement of the insolvency process for British Steel.
Almost 5,000 workers are employed by the company, mainly in Scunthorpe. Another 20,000 people are employed by firms in the supply chain.
A British Steel spokeswoman told Express.co.uk: “The British Steel Group has faced various trading challenges recently.
“In response to this, we have been working closely with our stakeholders to consider the different funding options available to the Group.
“These negotiations have not concluded and we continue to work with all parties to achieve an outcome that secures the future success of British Steel.
“We are aware of speculation that the May salaries may not be paid.
“For the avoidance of doubt, we can confirm that funding is in place and British Steel employees will be paid their salaries in full.
“We do not want to provide any further comment on the live negotiations, other than to thank our entire team for their dedication and hard work during this challenging period.”
The company had been seeking a £30million Government bailout to secure its future, reducing an initial request for £75million, after struggling under Brexit turbulence and repercussions from the US-China trade war.
British Steel managed to secure a Government loan earlier this month of around £120 million in order to comply with the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) rules.
Sky News’ Gerard Tubb explained the reason for the £120 million of carbon credit money.
He said: “Under the EU rules, when we are all in the EU they got those carbon credits provided. Because we have an extended stay in the EU now and we should have left according to what our agreement was, then suddenly there is money to pay and a fine if it wasn’t paid.
“That’s why they needed that £120 million.”