Nia Griffith MP, secretary of the all-party steel group, has recently organised meetings for industry representatives and MPs from the cross-party steel group with Transport Minister Simon Burns MP and Business and Energy Minister Michael Fallon MP in order to discuss the challenges facing the industry and impress upon them the need to boost demand.
“We had a courteous reception at both of the meetings with ministers; I think that they are very aware of the industry’s concerns. The immediate problem for the big steel producers is the global drop in demand. If we are to keep a thriving steel industry going, then we need government to boost demand now. Steel manufacturers like TATA are not asking for handouts; they simply want a level playing field and they want government to get a move on with planned infrastructure projects so that they can bid to provide the materials and components for them.
“Looking more long-term, steel and manufacturing firms have to be planning for twenty or thirty years’ time when they invest, so if we want them to have the confidence to invest in the UK, we must offer them a clear industrial strategy. We could do without all the uncertainty created by talk of an EU referendum in four years’ time, and the government’s failure to include decarbonisation targets for 2030 in the energy bill. We need the government to tackle high energy prices, and sort out the muddle they’ve got into over help for energy intensive industries which would not have been necessary, if they had not imposed on manufacturers the carbon floor price which is a tax unique to the UK,.”
“Transport minister Simon Burns MP was very complimentary about the efficient way TATA had delivered for Network Rail, and said that it stood them in good stead for future contracts. So now what we need is the contracts to bid for. ”