Search

Inside Parliament: The battle to protect Tate & Lyle Silvertown goes on

14:00 28 September 2012

Stephen Timms, MP for East Ham

Stephen Timms, MP for East Ham

Archant

Inside Parliament: Exclusive Column from East Ham MP Stephen Timms

Inside Parliament: This week’s column from East Ham MP Stephen Timms.

Last week, I visited the European Agriculture Commissioner, Mr Ciolos, in Brussels. I was there to challenge European rules limiting the amount of cane sugar Tate & Lyle can obtain, even though there is a European sugar shortage. Jobs have been lost at Silvertown, and the future of the refinery could be at risk.

I was disappointed not to meet the Commissioner himself. I have been asking for a meeting for six months. Instead I met one of his officials, a friendly Welshman, but didn’t get much joy.

Europe’s sugar rules used to keep the price of sugar in Europe above the world market price, so it was worthwhile to grow sugar beet in Europe. The Commission changed the rules in 2006. In a letter to me last May, they claimed the result was: “a better deal for consumers and taxpayers and a more focused and competitive EU sugar industry”. They point out that the gap between the world and European sugar prices is less than in 2006, so European consumers get a better deal.

But I pointed out to them that the gap has risen sharply over the past two years. The problem their new rules were supposed to fix is now getting much worse. When a sugar shortage emerged, the Commission forced refiners like Tate & Lyle to pay a very high duty on extra cane imports. That forced the sugar price up. Beet producers were allowed to obtain extra sugar beet for much less, in some cases paying no duty at all. With the high sugar price, they have enjoyed huge profits.

In 2015, the rules will change again. I shall be campaigning for the new rules to be fairer, so that consumers don’t keep being ripped off, and that, after 140 years, cane refining in Newham can continue.

0 comments

Latest Newham News Stories

Yesterday, 23:53
Jeremy Corbyn on stage earlier this evening at the Royal Regency, Manor Park

An 800-strong lively audience turned out to see Jeremy Corbyn at a Labour leadership rally this evening.

Labour Party
Yesterday, 18:00
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is speaking at a Labour leadership rally in Newham tonight.

Jeremy Corbyn is hoping to galvanise his followers at a Labour leadership rally in the borough this evening.

Labour
Yesterday, 17:10
A TfL Rail train. Picture: Hammersfan/Wikimedia Commons

There are currently no trains running on the TfL Rail line between Liverpool Street and Stratford due to signal failures.

Maryland
Yesterday, 16:58
Abba tribute act Bjorn Again perform (pictures: Paul Boyling)

Music fans turned out in their thousands to enjoy four evenings of free entertainment at Under the Stars.

Robin

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

You could win £15,000 to spend on either their mortgage or a deposit towards the home of their dreams

Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a period of time when you simply don’t have to worry about finding the money each month to pay your mortgage? When you don’t have to put money aside from your monthly income, or worry about having to afford other essential outgoings?

Read more
Which book character do you share cleaning habits with?

Whether you have more in common with put-upon Cinderella, emotionally turbulent Jane Eyre, or easily distracted Mole, you’re sure to appreciate that one lucky winner will receive four sessions of free cleaning. Enter our quiz for your chance to win. All runners up will get £10 off their first clean when making a repeat booking.

Read more

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Newham Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now