The Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC) has told its members to consider carefully points raised made by both campaigns before deciding how to vote in the EU Referendum on June 23.
The warning comes after Amber Rudd, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, delivered a speech in which she details the energy benefits of saying yes to the UK remaining in the EU.
John Thompson, chief executive at APHC, said: “As the June election date draws ever closer, debates surrounding the EU appear to be entering all walks of life.
“According to Ms Rudd’s claims, those working in the energy sector, including plumbing and heating engineers may well be affected by the outcome of the referendum and so should consider all the points raised when deciding which way to vote.
“Needless to say, there will be opposing opinions from the leave Europe campaign on the statistics used by Ms Rudd in her speech.”
Ms Rudd began her speech by highlighting the important role that EU membership has had, in her view, in delivering the high level of energy security that the UK holds today – specifying that this is now the fifth highest of anywhere in the world.
Warning of the difficulties of an island like the UK importing and exporting electricity and gas and of declining North Sea reserves, she stated the need for careful co-operation with our European neighbours in order to deliver energy security in the future. She further added the importance of working within the EU against Russia, which has already threatened to use gas as a tool of foreign policy.
The Energy Secretary went on to describe the financial benefits of staying in the EU, claiming that a European internal energy market makes it cheaper and easier for us to buy and sell energy. She also mentioned the savings on bills made possible by EU energy efficient products, suggesting that the loss of these would hit the poorest in society particularly hard. Investment in UK energy infrastructure, Ms Rudd emphasised, would also decline as a result of leaving the EU, putting investors’ confidence at risk as well as an estimated 660,000 jobs in the UK’s energy sector.
The Energy Secretary’s final point concerned the UK’s global standing, which as a current EU member allows us to exert a real influence on significant geopolitical issues such as global climate change. Remaining within the EU, she argued, makes it possible to get a fair deal for Britain while also helping to make the world a better place.
Ms Rudd concluded: “I want us to be at the centre of things, making things happen, leading in Europe and getting the best for our people. My judgement is clear. In the EU, our future is stronger and more secure, and our families and businesses are better off.”