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MEP tells Coryton staff - inquiry needed
7:40am Thursday 19th July 2012 in News
AN ESSEX Euro MP has called for a public inquiry into the sale of Coryton oil refinery, blaming the Government, Petroplus and administrators for the plant’s closure.
Richard Howitt told workers at a public meeting last Wednesday night there were 10 questions to which everyone deserved to know the answers.
He pointed the finger at the Government for not doing enough, at administrators for the way they went about striking a deal and Petroplus for bankrupting themselves.
The MEP said all of these factors have contributed to the loss of 800 jobs at the refinery on Manorway, and demanded all are called to account.
Workers at the meeting also expressed concern over Shell’s involvement in a deal struck last month which will see the refinery become a terminal, to which Mr Howitt said the company should be put before the Monopolies Commission.
The Euro MP said: “I will not mislead you and say this is going to get your jobs back, but I think you deserve the right to know the answers to these questions.
“We gave administrators space and confidentiality to carry out a deal, but they haven’t done a deal and they should now answer questions about their conduct.
“Did the Government ever seriously consider the proposal that the turnaround be funded by the Government buying an equity share into the company, which later they would sell and get a profit?”
He added: “If Petroplus did borrow too much money, got into too much debt and into trouble, who’s going to be held to account for that? Do they just get away with it? Let’s find out who took those decisions and hold them to account.”
He also said it is time to “embarrass” local representatives over their actions on the issue.
In the House of Commons two weeks ago, East Thurrock MP Stephen Metcalfe called for a parliamentary inquiry into the refinery’s sale.
Responding to the meeting, he said: “I’ve written to the chairman of the Department for Business and Innovation Select Committee, Adrian Bailey, and also to the Pension Protection Fund. “I don’t think it will change the outcome, I’m now talking to people about the future.”