BFC petitions the Chancellor about unfair biomass subsidies
In a further bid to highlight the furniture industry’s concerns about the adverse impact of biomass subsidies on its cost basis and future viability, representatives of the British Furniture Confederation accompanied by Stephen McPartland MP have been to 11 Downing Street to present a letter and petition of more than 1,600 signatures for the attention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne.
BFC chairman Paul von der Heyde said: “Despite having made representations both to DECC and BIS, the Government seems intent on ignoring the negative financial and business impacts on the furniture supply chain created by these subsidies which effectively assist energy producers to out bid manufacturers for a vital raw material resource.
There is a danger that this will lead to the collapse of the main stream British furniture manufacturing base, unless the subsidies are significantly reduced or removed, especially for the burning of newly grown trees.”
Stephen McPartland MP who is chair of the All Party Parliamentary Furniture Industry Group explained: “The industry supports well over 100,000 jobs and is a sector full of industrious small enterprises employing highly skilled staff. Current woody biomass subsidies are a significant cause of rising wood prices which are damaging British furniture businesses.”
“We understand the pressure the Government is under to meet the 2020 renewable targets, the broader advantages of most biomass and the problems faced in getting new power stations built.” Paul von der Heyde confirmed “However, the consequences of the current energy plan are dire for an already beleaguered industry. We are urging Government to review the situation and to ensure that our industry is not disadvantaged competitively, particularly at a time when imports continue to grow, and exports offer one of the few opportunities for growth.
“We do not seek any advantage for ourselves, only a level playing field. However, with the current subsidies granted to the power generation industry there is clearly a damaging imbalance. This undermines our industry and many others who create value and employment from a limited timber resource, as opposed to those who simply burn it.”