As your readers will be aware, the SSI steel plant in Redcar recently closed – this was an event that had a devastating impact on both the local economy and Teesside as a whole.
This plant closed for many reasons; one of these factors was that EU state aid laws hampered our government’s ability to support the plant and its employees. SSI is only one of many examples of how state aid regulations have impacted British businesses.
I repeatedly called upon the government to support SSI in Redcar and I kept being told that this was not an option that was on the table.
I sit on the EU Budgetary Control Committee and I make a point of ensuring that I scrutinise the EU’s finances as much as I possibly can. You can imagine my frustration this week when the EU Court of Auditors revealed that the EU funded at least seven projects that were in violation of its own state aid laws.
It seems to have been one rule for these EU projects and another for Redcar.
Jonathan Arnott MEP
UKIP, North East