Brexit fallout raises firms’ fears over energy shortages

Manufacturers have become more worried about the lights going out after Brexit. Picture: AFP/Getty Images

Manufacturers have become more worried about the lights going out after Brexit. Picture: AFP/Getty Images

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Manufacturers have become more concerned about the cost and security of energy supplies since the Brexit vote, a new study has shown.

The report, by Barclays, found that 51 per cent of UK manufacturers expect energy shortages over the next decade, with 71 per cent fearing “significant” price increases.

Overall, 27 per cent of firms surveyed said that energy supply was more of a concern to their business now than at the start of the year, with 28 per cent of those saying this is because they were worried about the eventual impact of the UK leaving the European Union.

Mike Rigby, head of manufacturing, transport and logistics at Barclays, said: “Energy resilience and costs are vital considerations for UK manufacturers and are a critical element of our manufacturing sector’s ability to compete internationally.

“In recent months, attention has focused on the future of energy supply but we need to look at all aspects of energy. By considering energy management on the demand side in intensive sectors such as manufacturing, we can ensure the UK remains competitive.”

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In a recent submission to the House of Lords select committee on economic affairs, as part of its probe into the economics of energy policy, the UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy said: “Great Britain enjoys high levels of energy security. In electricity, we continue to meet the statutory reliability standard, which is the strongest such standard in any comparable European or US system.”

Barclays’ report also claims that manufacturers could inject almost £2.6 billion extra into the UK economy and cut their energy consumption by nearly a third by ramping up investment in energy-efficient technologies over the next decade.

Rigby added: “We know manufacturers are already taking steps to improve their energy resilience, from investing in energy efficiency to self-generation and partnering with resource recovery parks.

“However, our research shows that increasing this investment will not only protect the sector from future fluctuations in energy supply, but will also benefit the wider economy by making the sector more internationally competitive through reduced costs and increased productivity.”

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