With the imminent closure of the steelworks in Redcar, and rumours rife about problems elsewhere in the industry, Nia Griffith MP, Secretary of the All Party Parliamentary Steel group expressed the fear that the steel summit held in Rotherham on Friday could be too little too late. The summit was set up by the Government ministers in response to demands from the cross-party group of MPs who were hoping it would lead to urgent action to deal with the crisis in the steel industry,
The summit was chaired by Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and was attended by the top bosses in the UK steel industry, the Economic Development Minster in Welsh Government, Employers’ organisations, Trade Union representatives and MPs.
Led by Karl Koehler, CEO of Tata Steel Europe and Luis Sanz, MD of Celsa Steel, delegates were very anxious to impress upon the Business Secretary, the urgent need for the immediate and full implementation of help promised by the Government four years ago to the Energy Intensive Industries, to compensate for the effects of the Carbon Floor Price, a tax which was imposed unilaterally by the UK Government and is not part of any EU emissions legislation.
Other demands drawn up by the employers’ organisation UK Steel, include greater use of UK products in government-funded projects, continued support for EU measures to limit unfair competition from Chinese steel, changes to business rates so firms are not penalised for investing in new plant and no gold-plating (adding to) agreed international regulations.
Speaking after the summit, Nia Griffith MP said,
“After the summit, I remain very concerned, because the Business Secretary concluded proceedings by talking about working groups and progress by Christmas, when help is needed immediately, as workers are losing jobs now, and the UK risks losing strategic capacity for producing steel in the future. The Chancellor promised the Energy Intensive Industries package four years ago, and the tragic irony is that the Government is still hiding behind the need to get clearance for state aid from the EU, when it was their setting of such a high carbon floor price which necessitated it in the first place. I welcome the Government’s support for measures to limit unfair competition from Chinese imports, but I would like to see greater progress from the UK Government on strategic infrastructure projects, and see the UK Government follow the Welsh Government’s example and sign up to the Charter for Sustainable British Steel.”