Figures uncovered by Labour reveal the scale of job losses at firms deemed energy-intensive – and come amid mounting fears over power price hikes
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Tens of thousands of jobs were shed in energy-intensive industries in just three years, research reveals tonight.
Labour analysis found 32,000 posts were axed in sectors such as metals, ceramics and glass between 2017 and 2020.
The party identified the lost roles in businesses which consume vast amounts of energy, as the power price crisis intensifies.
It said ‘Red Wall’ constituencies – those which the Tories won from Labour at the 2019 general election – were particularly vulnerable because they were home to a disproportionate number of energy-intensive firms.
They account for double the number of jobs in Red Wall seats as in the rest of the country.
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Some 6,000 such posts in the former Labour heartlands went between 2017 and 2020, according to the study.
Shadow Business Secretary Jonathan Reynolds said: “A decade of failure from the Conservatives has created a broken energy market and left some of Britain’s great industries at risk.
“Labour has a fully-funded plan to safeguard consumers and businesses from this crisis including investing £600million to support struggling firms – and fixing the broken energy market.”
According to Labour analysis of the Business Register and Employment Survey by Nomis, provided by the Office for National Statistics, thousands of jobs were lost in heavy industry from 2017 to 2020, including:
1,500 in plastic plates, sheets and tubes
900 in manufacture of rubber tyres and tubes
600 in weaving of textiles
250 in manufacture of electrical components
150 in glass
100 in ceramic tiles, flags and other products
100 in aluminium production
100 in manufacture of batteries and accumulators
50 in casting of iron
Under the party’s plan, a contingency fund would be created to support struggling firms through the energy price crisis.
It would be funded by a one-off windfall tax on the profits of North Sea oil and gas companies.
Labour used its annual conference last September to announce a £3bn pledge to help the UK steel industry switch to more environmentally-friendly production.
Research showed 60% of the 415,000 British jobs in “energy intensive industries” are in Red Wall heartlands in the North and Midlands.
They include 59,000 posts in the North West, 54,000 in the East Midlands, 51,000 in the West Midlands, 50,000 in Yorkshire and The Humber and 22,000 in the North East.
A Government spokesman said: “We remain absolutely determined to secure a competitive future for our energy intensive industries and in recent years have provided them with extensive support, including more than £2bn to help with the costs of energy and to protect jobs.
“Ministers and officials continue to engage constructively and regularly with industry to understand and to help mitigate the impacts of high global gas prices.
“Our priority is to ensure costs are managed and supplies of energy are maintained.”
A Government source added: “We’ll take no lessons from the Labour Party who halved steel employment and whose insane 2030 net zero target would decimate British industry and permanently scar entire communities.”