Conservative MEP Marina Yannakoudakis has today condemned nonsensical EU rules which are threatening jobs at Tate & Lyle’s Silvertown refinery in her London constituency.

EU preferential access to sugar cane from the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of states and least developed countries (LDCs) was originally seen as a way of helping developing countries trade their way out of poverty. Unfortunately these countries have not invested sufficiently in their facilities to increase production.

Because EU rules mean that Tate & Lyle can only buy sugar cane from ACP and LDC countries, the company has been unable to source sugar cane in the quantities that it needs for its London refinery. The refinery is currently only running at 60% capacity and 30 jobs are threatened.

Marina Yannakoudakis MEP said: “I am all for trade with the developing world in order to promote the economic transformation of these countries. However, if the ACP and LDC countries are not able to come up with the goods, refiners such as Tate & Lyle should be able to source their sugar cane elsewhere.”

“There is a sugar supply shortage and the EU has only allowed the supply of sugar beet, not sugar cane, to be increased. This is distorting the market and unreasonably penalising sugar cane refiners such as Tate & Lyle.”

“The EU needs to see sense and treat sugar cane refiners fairly. The Commission must urgently relax the rules on the imports of sugar cane so that the Tate & Lyle refinery in London can return to full capacity.”