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Bigger bills mean fewer jobs.

Plants in the North have already shut down as a direct result of increased energy costs.

The Vald Birn UK iron foundry in Cambois, Northumberland, closed last month with the loss of 157 jobs.

Former Vald Birn quality control inspector Mark Watson, of Ashington, said yesterday: "It's obviously a massive problem.

"A lot of companies are going to find it very hard if the Government doesn't do something about it.

"I think manufacturing in this country is just about dead."

South Shields circuit board manufacturer Circatex closed in March with the loss of more than 200 jobs, with energy costs again a major factor.

In February, engineer William Cook, which employs 250 people in Stanhope, County Durham, switched production to night shifts so it could use off-peak energy.

At the weekend bus company Arriva announced fare rises because of soaring energy and fuel prices.

Liz Esnouf[ok], commercial director of Arriva North- East, said: "We have worked hard to try and keep fares increases to a minimum, but with the much-increased costs we are facing, it has become inevitable that we must pass some of these on to our customers."
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:May 30, 2006
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