The Coryton oil refinery

Coryton oil refinery closure could increase fuel prices

Fuel prices could increase if an Essex oil refinery isn't saved from closure, unions have warned.

Labour MEP Richard Howitt and unions Unite and GMB have said the government needs to step in to save the Coryton refinery, which supplies 20 per cent of fuel to London and the South East.

The oil refinery has gone into administration and faces being shut down within weeks, with the loss of several hundred jobs.

"News that the former Petroplus refinery in Germany is to be sold means that three out of five of the bankrupt company's refineries in Europe are already saved, with the French plant given millions of pounds of their government's money to stay open," said Mr Howitt.

"Coryton is the biggest, highest quality and most efficient of the five refineries in Europe, and it is a telling indictment of our British Government that only they have failed.

"The administrators told us that an equity arrangement by government could still be a sound basis to strike a deal with interested parties."

Tony Burke, assistant general secretary of Unite, warned that the closure of Coryton could lead to fuel prices rising.

"Not only will Coryton's closure rip the heart out of the community, it will also further undermine the UK's already fragile refining industry," he said.

"The national economy relies on oil and the security and continuity of its supply.

"It is simply too important to fall victim to speculators and the whim of the market."

Phil Whitehurst, of the GMB, said: "The UK's energy market is a complete shambles and it is high time the government stepped in and imposed some policies."

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