Unite the UK’s largest union, described the government’s decision to pull the plug on the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project as a ‘short-sighted jobs killer’ with severe ramifications for the Welsh economy and wider UK manufacturing and construction sectors.
Today’s (Monday 25 June) decision not to go ahead with the tidal lagoon project, which would have been the first ‘green energy’ tidal power scheme in the UK, deprives the Welsh economy of a £500 million boost and 2,000 jobs.
The UK government’s decision also throws into doubt the future of the UK’s turbine engineering capacity at GE Power Conversion Ltd and could result in hundreds of highly skilled jobs potentially being lost. By not progressing with the project Unite is fearful that the UK will lose the ability to build similar turbines in the future to countries such as France.
The Welsh government has thrown its support behind the project by committing to invest £200 million in the scheme, which would help reduce the strike price (the cost of the electricity generated by the project). The project has also won significant cross party support in the Welsh Assembly and Houses of Parliament.
Unite Wales deputy secretary Gareth Jones said: “The UK government’s decision is a short-sighted job killer with ramifications for the Welsh economy and wider UK manufacturing and construction sectors.
“The decision not to back the tidal bay lagoon denies Wales the opportunity of being at the forefront of green energy innovation, while at the same jeopardises hundreds of jobs in turbine production at GE at its sites in the Midlands.
“This is a project which would give Wales an opportunity to build a new industry based upon its unique tidal resource. It has cross party support in both the Welsh Assembly and the House of Commons, with the Welsh government putting up £200 million to support it and keep the strike price down.
“Instead of securing a source of green energy for the next 120 years, the government has turned its back on Wales and made a mockery of its industrial strategy.
“Theresa May’s government needs to review this wrong-headed and misguided decision and throw its full support behind the lagoon project which is clearly in the UK’s best interests.”
For further information please contact the Unite press office on 020 3371 2065 or Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869.
Notes to editors:
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.