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


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.


Latest News Stories

Statistics show that older people in the borough are among the most deprived in the country				Photo: John Stillwell/PA Images

The proportion of people living in relative deprivation in the borough has shrunk considerably in the last five years, government statistics show – but older people remain among the most deprived.

Newham Council
The Campaign Against Arms Trade protested against the DSEI arms fair, which was held in the ExCel Centre

The readers’ response to last week’s debate is in.

United Kingdom
A high court decision is set to have a big impact on the future of Uber in London (Picture: PA Images)

The first week of a TfL consultation to increase regulation of private hire vehicles has attracted a huge backlash, particularly from the wildly successful taxi app, Uber.

British government
Frances Gov (nee Laval) with her fantasy novel, The Prince of Carentan which she has published with her fater, Devek Laval.

A dad and his daughter have teamed up to explore the world of medieval fantasy in their first ever published novel.

Plashet School

Most read news


You could be splashing the cash at Topshop!

Just imagine what you could do with £1,000 to spend at Topshop.

Read more
You won't need to fork out for groceries for a while!

Asda, one of the country’s leading supermarkets, prides itself in being one of the cheapest places to shop, so you can be sure that your money will go a long way here!

Read more

Digital Edition

Read the Newham Recorder e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder