Soaring bills and disruption to gas supplies could force firms into a costly switch to oil, said David Workman, the director-general of British Glass, and could mean job losses and company closures.Rising energy bills may tempt manufacturers to move abroad, Workman warned. One firm, British Optical, has already moved to the Far East.
The concerns of the industry, which employs 16,000 workers, have been brought to the attention of Energy Minister Malcolm Wickes, but he said there is little the Government can do to boost gas supplies.
The industry believes gas prices will rise by 63% early next year. Workman said: 'This would push the price of energy to nearly 25% of our total costs and our trading position would become untenable.'