Essex: Union dismay as Ministers rule out state aid bid for Coryton oil refinery

THE Government was accused of “betraying” hundreds of workers set to lose their jobs after ministers decided not to apply to the European Commission for permission to use state funds to prop up the Coryton oil refinery.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change rejected calls to intervene in the future of the south Essex plant where several hundred jobs are now expected to be axed after its parent company went into liquidation.

Unions and refinery supporters had pushed ministers to consider putting up cash to keep the refinery going until administrators were able find a buyer as its closure would drain �100million from the economy.

But ministers said overcapacity in the refining industry meant it would not be sustainable to provide government help.

The Unite union attacked the decision, comparing it with moves by the French government to step in with aid to keep a refinery open.

Assistant general secretary Tony Burke said: “The workforce will feel let down and betrayed by the Government’s refusal to step in as the French have done, to keep the refinery going.

“The closure of Coryton will have a devastating impact on the local community and the wider economy, sucking out over �100 million and leading to the loss of hundreds of skilled jobs.”

Most Read

Thurrock Council commissioned an economic impact assessment of the closure or change of use of the site, which found it would cost �30million in wages, �26million in contractor costs, �6million in locally sourced materials, �40million spent on chemicals and utilities, and �5million in business rates.

A Government spokesman said: “Departments across Government have looked very carefully at whether or not state aid should be provided for Coryton.

“But we have come to the conclusion that the existing overcapacity in the refining industry and declining demand for petrol mean that it would not be sustainable.”