Coryton refinery closure prompts price rise fears
Fuel prices could rise if an Essex oil refinery fails to get government help, ministers have been warned.
Unions and MEP Richard Howitt said keeping Coryton refinery open was in the national interest as it supplies 20% of the South East's fuel.
The refinery faces closure with the loss of hundreds of jobs after the collapse of its Swiss parent company.
But the government has rejected the idea of using public money to support the plant.
Tony Burke, assistant general secretary of Unite, warned the closure of Coryton could lead to fuel prices rising.'Jobs will be lost'
He said: "Not only will Coryton's closure rip the heart out of the community, it will also further undermine the UK's already fragile refining industry.
"The national economy relies on oil and the security and continuity of its supply.
"It is simply too important to fall victim to speculators and the whim of the market."
Mr Howitt said: "News the former Petroplus refinery in Germany is to be sold means that three out of five of the bankrupt company's refineries in Europe are already saved.
"The French plant has been given millions of pounds of their government's money to stay open.
"The administrators told us that an equity arrangement by government could still be a sound basis to strike a deal with interested parties."
The Department of Energy and Climate Change said: "We do not believe that keeping the refinery open with public money is the best solution for a long-term sustainable future for the plant.
"The difficulties faced by the administrator reflect overcapacity in the European refining sector, indeed a number of refineries have closed across Europe in recent years. With such overcapacity, it would simply not be sustainable to prop up the refinery with taxpayers' money.
"We want to reassure people that there will not be any impact on fuel supply from the closure of the refinery.
"Government is working with local partners to address the implications of the announcement for the local workforce."