Following the announcement that the JTI Gallaher cigarette factory in Ballymena, County Antrim, is to close with the loss of 800 jobs MEP Paul Nuttall has pointed the finger of blame at the EU.

UKIP Deputy Leader Paul Nuttall, a long term campaigner against plain packing for cigarettes, said, “These workers have lost their jobs because of a changing business environment compounded by the EU’s recent Tobacco Directive.

“Eight hundred people are to be jobless due to political decisions of the three parties who supported the Tobacco Directive, something which UKIP strongly opposed.

“The plain packaging demanded by the EU’s Tobacco Directive also means there will be more counterfeit cigarettes with a loss of Government revenue and a surge in sub-standard cigarettes.

“The directive simply restricts people’s pleasure and brings a bonanza for black market smugglers. These jobs losses in Co Antrim are another consequence.

“Will the MEPs whose parties supported this EU legislation in Brussels now travel to Northern Ireland and meet the new jobless to apologise? If they have any honour they would.”

“Gallahers is a major employer in Northern Ireland, and as well as the plant employees they provide business for 200 other locally based firms,” said Mr Nuttall, North West MEP.

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