CPI urges government to act on energy crisis

Richard Stuart-Turner
Wednesday, March 30, 2022

The Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI) has published a position paper urging the government to act to support the UK’s paper-based industries during the current crisis of energy cost inflation.

Gas prices have rocketed. Image: ENA
Gas prices have rocketed. Image: ENA

The trade association’s paper calls on the government to make good on its promises of support for energy intensive industries, in particular the Conservative manifesto commitment to lower industrial energy prices and the establishment of an innovation fund paid for by the £5bn – to date – UK Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) allowance auction receipts.

Also; measures to curb excessive rises in carbon taxes, through the cost containment mechanism of the UK ETS, and a coherent UK industrial strategy, rebalancing the economy and promoting UK industrial growth as a desirable outcome.

CPI director general Andrew Large said: “We urge the government to match the rhetoric of changed economic circumstances with actions in support of the UK’s paper-based industries.

“Paper-based products are fundamental to a number of critical supply chains. The sharp increase in energy costs coupled with an inability to pass on those costs to customers in a competitive European Market is causing substantial problems for our members.

“We note that the European Union has just adopted a Temporary Crisis Framework that enables support for energy intensive industries and we urge the UK government to match their actions, as we state in the position paper, or risk an immediate decline in UK investment attractiveness and further falls in UK productive capacity.”

He added: “The products that our members produce are ubiquitous in society. They are toilet paper and hand towels; food packaging and online delivery boxes; newsprint and magazine papers; as well as a host of other specialty papers that are used in advanced manufacturing, battery making and within the NHS.

“The long-term supply of many of these products from UK mills is now at greater risk than at any time in recent years. UK jobs and supply chains are in question, and unless action is taken swiftly, then the impacts will be clearly noticed by consumers as supermarket shelves empty and home deliveries slow.”

CPI represents an industry with an aggregate annual turnover of £12bn, with 56,000 direct and a further 93,000 indirect employees.

The government's promised ‘energy security statement’ was expected to be announced this week, but has been delayed again amid apparent disagreements between Number 10 and the Treasury. 

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