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Britain’s chemical industry will be damaged if the government presses ahead with a carbon floor price even if other countries do not, the chemical industry’s trade body has warned.

“If we get too far ahead of the pack and introduce measures which raise energy costs to the extent that Britain becomes uncompetitive, investment will just go elsewhere and the industry will wither” said Alan Eastwood, economic adviser to the Chemical Industries Association.

Unless other countries inside and outside Europe adopted similar policies, he added, the government should “postpone or scrap” the carbon floor price.

“The whole approach smacks of the medieval religious conviction that self-flagellation is the route to salvation. It’s not,” he said.

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