Warning sounds have been made about the impact of tariffs on Teesside’s chemical industry by Stockton North MP, Alex Cunningham and Middlesbrough MP, Andy McDonald.
The warnings come after INEOS, which is based in Stockton North, announced plans to close its acrylonitrile plant at Seal Sands – a decision which could result in more than 220 direct jobs being lost , and an impact on the local supply chain.
Speaking in a debate on tariffs, Alex asked the minister
The imposition of tariffs on the export of chemicals from Teesside will have a huge detrimental effect on industry there – and comes on the back of a decision by INEOS to close their plant which is both a supplier and customer within the complicated supply chain.
What are ministers doing about this additional threat, over and above his tariffs, which will cost more than 220 direct jobs and potentially many more?
Whilst the Trade Minister said he was prepared to meet Alex and even visit his constituency, there was no answer forthcoming.
Alex has also written to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy requesting an urgent meeting to discuss INEOS’ decision and look at ways in which the Government can support the company to continue the plant.
Alex and Andy will also be meeting with INEOS and Unite the Union officials on Wednesday to discuss the matter further.
The proposal by INEOS Nitriles to close its acrylonitrile manufacturing plant at Seal Sands is an extremely disappointing one, and reflects the wider issues Teesside’s chemical industry faces.
Our Government needs to act decisively to ensure that the chemical industry as a whole is protected from punitive tariffs post Brexit. More immediately pressing, however, is need for the Government to back INEOS and help the company continue its acrylonitrile plant at Seal Sands or help find someone else who will keep this vital component of chemical manufacturing open.
Jobs and livelihoods are at stake – not just on the plant but across the whole supply chain – if the Government does not act, and I will be working with fellow MPs, INEOS, and the trade unions to fight for our chemical industry.
Andy McDonald said
There is a very real threat that there will be a domino effect for the process industry on Teesside and the pieces are already starting to tumble. When plants relocate in the face of tariffs and delays there will be no carbon to capture.
With my Labour colleagues, I have pushed for carbon capture usage storage (CCUS) for Teesside for many years. We could pioneer the Green Industrial Revolution but if we want the industries of tomorrow we need to keep the industries of today.
I reiterate, no deal or a bad deal means we won’t have carbon to capture. There will be massive consequences and there is a real need for this to be discussed sensibly and openly.