In light of BASF’s decision to close its Seal Sands plant, Stockton North MP, Alex Cunningham, is demanding answers from the Government about the status of the £1 billion in Government loans that was paid to the chemical company through its Covid Corporate Facility Financing scheme.
BASF is the biggest recipient of the scheme, which was introduced to help companies during the pandemic and economic slow-down. In recent weeks BASF has announced that it will close its HMD plant at Seal Sands – relocating to mainland Europe at a loss of 90 local jobs, with a further 300 jobs expected to be impacted.
Writing to the Business Secretary, Alex has asked:
- What conditions were placed on BASF and their UK operations prior to granting them £1 billion through the CCFF scheme;
- What guarantees or conditions were sought that this £1 billion would be spent on British jobs and whether the funding could be spent on subsidising overseas operations;
- If the Department was aware of BASF’s plans to close its hexamethylene diamine (HMD) plant at Seal Sands before giving the company £1 billion in loans.
Alex has also written to the Tees Valley Mayor asking what role his office has played in intervening with the Government about BASF’s planned re-location.
“That BASF were given £1 billion in loans from our Government, only to announce plans to close up shop in Seal Sands a few months later, is not only an outrageous snub to the local area but an insult to those people who are now set to lose their jobs.
“We have a right to know whether this money was ring-fenced for British operations or whether Governmental oversight means companies like BASF can use our money to subsidise overseas operations.
“Once again, actions such as BASF’s decision shows a real need for our area to have a robust, Local Industrial Plan that will map out how our area will attract and grow, good quality, well-paid local jobs rather than see them go elsewhere on grounds of ‘profitability’.
“I hope the Business Secretary looks at this matter with real urgency.”