Labour, LibDems and UKIP put thousands of UK jobs at risk

19-Mar-2014 @ 17:0

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Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Labour, Liberal Democrat and UKIP MEPs have todaythreatened thousands of British jobs at Airbus and elsewhere by voting tocontinue forcing non-European airlines to pay an emissions levy whenever theyfly to or from the EU, Martin Callanan, Conservative MEP, has warned.

The European Parliament's environment committee wasvoting on plans to continue exempting non-European airlines from its EmissionsTrading Scheme (named the 'Stop the Clock proposal). However, an alliance ofLabour and Liberal Democrat MEPs was able to reject the plan, and voted infavour of charging US, Indian and Chinese airlines a levy for every flight.

These main trading partners have all threatenedretaliatory measures, with the US Congress already passing a resolutioncondemning the scheme. However, the Chinese government is likely to respond mostharshly to the levy. It had been planning to unfreeze an order of 27 AirbusA330 aircraft that was put on hold due to the prospect of the charges, and ithad originally been planning to confirm an order for a further 150 Airbus jetsat the end of this month (see notes to editors).

Today's vote in the committee was extremely tight, with29 MEPs voting in favour of the proposal and 29 against - meaning it fell.Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies defied a call from Nick Clegg yesterdayevening and even brought along two other LibDem MEPs not on the committee –Bill Newton Dunn and Andrew Duff – to swing the vote. Labour MEP Linda McAvanalso voted to reject the plans and apply the levy to the airlines. UKIP MEP onthe committee Paul Nuttall did not show up, even though he would have been ableto swing the vote in favour of British business.

Martin Callanan MEP, Conservative environment spokesmanin the European Parliament, said:

"Airbus is responsible for 100,000 UK jobs, many ofwhich have today been put at risk by Labour, the LibDems and by UKIP. LiberalDemocrat MEPs even turned out in force to defy a call from Nick Clegg tosupport this proposal.

"Europe's major trading allies will react extremelybadly to this vote. We are risking a trade war with China that will costBritish jobs, just for the sake of a couple of Euros per flight.

"Labour and Liberal Democrats have behaved extremelyirresponsibly with this vote. As ever, UKIP MEPs didn't bother to show up anddefend British industry. Paul Nuttall often talks about green dogma destroyingBritish jobs and today he had the opportunity to stop this measure, andcouldn't turn up or bother to find a replacement.

Until we can find an international agreement on airlineemissions we should not be risking retaliation from major economic partners forthe sake of ideology. Labour and the LibDems have actively put British jobs atrisk and UKIP has not bothered to show up and defend them."

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