Pottery industry welcomes George Osborne's budget tax break
CERAMICS companies have welcomed a tax break from the Government which will save firms thousands of pounds and help safeguard the future of the industry.
Chancellor George Osborne yesterday announced that the pottery industry would be exempt from the Climate Change Levy (CCL) from next year.
He said he was persuaded to take action after Stoke-on-Trent Central MP Tristram Hunt 'argued passionately' to ease the crippling costs to companies in the Potteries.
He added: "In the Spending Round we will provide support for energy intensive industries beyond 2015."
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Business leaders believe the move will go some way towards protecting the future of the industry.
Chief executive of the British Ceramic Confederation, Laura Cohen said: "We welcome the announcement. This is an important signal to companies in the sector that the Government has understood the cumulative climate change-related tax burden in the UK and is taking the threat to international competitiveness seriously."
Mr Hunt said: "This is great news for the ceramic industry in Stoke-on-Trent. I am glad George Osborne has listened to the lobbying of city MPs about the impact of energy taxes.
"This tax-break is another step along the path to a potteries' revival."
The CCL is paid on the taxable supply of power, such as electricity and gas, to businesses, and the cash is used to subsidise the production of renewable energy.
But campaigners argued that for energy intensive industries, like ceramics, there was a danger that businesses would be driven overseas.
Phil Wood, president of North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce, said: "The exemption is fantastic news for North Staffordshire and our ceramic industry. Anybody who uses energy commercially pays the CCL, but for high users, like potteries which use gas and electricity for the kilns, they were being landed with disparately high costs.
"It is tremendous news and the fact that Stoke-on-Trent was one of the few places mentioned by the Chancellor in his Budget is in itself a good thing for the area."
Max Dudson, chief executive of Dudson, said: "This helps the industry to remain competitive in the worldwide market."