EU energy rules are costing the UK economy between £86.6 billion and £93.2 billion according to the campaign group Business for Britain.
Its report ‘Energy prices and the EU’ claims high energy prices are putting 1.5 million jobs at risk, especially in energy intensive industries such as metal founding, glass making and ceramics.
The group wants to prompt a rethink about Brussels’ power, tying in with the debate about Prime Minister David Cameron renegotiating UK membership terms of the EU.
The report states medium sized industrial consumers in the EU pay around 20% more for electricity than companies in China, about 65% more than companies in India and more than twice as much as companies based in the US and Russia.
It points the finger at policies such as the EU’s Large Combustion Directive which demands old or inefficient plants, especially coal, must close. Roughly half of the UK’s plants are shutting under the rule.
The report also finds 53% of British manufacturers – who are keenly dependent on energy – believe the costs of EU membership outweigh the benefits, as opposed to 38% who say the opposite.
Business for Britain Chief Executive Matthew Elliot said: “It is clear that, by returning powers, the EU can do less, better. By giving member states the freedom to change energy laws and greater say over how to implement directives, the EU can substantially reduce the cost burden faced by businesses across Europe and can focus on promoting cross border trade.”