Newham MPs quiz Minister over Tate & Lyle jobs

Newham’s MP have raised the issue of job losses and under production at Tate and Lyle with the Government.

The sugar giant is facing the prospect of redundancies and a cut in its working hours after a 90 day consultation. The company, which has a refinery in Silvertown, says it is due to European Commission’s constraints on raw material supply, which prevents it from importing the raw materials in the quantities it needs. The refinery has been working at 60 per cent capacity since 2009 due to the regulations.

Lyn Brown, MP for West Ham, and Stephen Timms, MP for East Ham raised the issue of job losses and under production with the Secretary of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

In Parliament last Thursday, Lyn Brown asked Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Caroline Spelman what the Government is doing to protect jobs in the UK sugar industry. The Secretary of State replied that she is urging the European Commission to provide a balance of competition and success between sugar beet and sugar cane producers.

Lyn Brown then asked whether the Government is standing up for British interests and British industry in the European Commission. In her response, Caroline Spelman gave assurances that the Government will stand up for British industry in Europe.

Stephen Timms asked Caroline Spelman if she agreed that the difference in charges per tonne for extra beet quota and sugar cane is unfair. Caroline Spelman replied that the Government would like trade liberalisation to create a level playing field in the sugar industry.

Lyn Brown said: “The Secretary of State had clearly been well briefed, but while it’s all well and good to be well briefed, what we need is action.

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“This Government needs to stand up for British businesses and support Tate and Lyle Sugars against the vested interests in the European Commission.”

Stephen Timms said: “The Tate and Lyle refinery is a vital part of our economy in Newham and it is perverse that it should only be operating at sixty per cent capacity as a result of EU Policy.”