It’s time for the UK Government to establish a new steel summit to address the ongoing challenges facing the industry. Senior members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Steel and Metal Related Industries have written to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Greg Clark MP, to request that he works with the group to facilitate a new steel summit at the earliest possible convenience.
APPG members have been working hard to tackle the underlying issues to the uncertainty which has faced the sector over the last few years. In March this year the industry hit the headlines again with Donald Trump’s announcement that the US would be imposing 25 per cent tariffs on steel imports from June 2018. This is just one of the issues which the APPG feel need to be discussed with the UK Government to determine what more can do done on a cross-party basis to help the industry remain sustainable.
Whilst we’ve made real progress in helping our steel industry in Newport and across the UK since the crisis in 2015, the sector still faces significant challenges. The imposition of steel tariffs by President Trump is, of course, a key worry at the current time which is why I, and other steel MPs, strongly feel that the UK Government needs to work with us to host a new steel summit to ensure the industry has the support it needs to remain competitive and continue to deliver for workers and our economy.
The introduction of Capacity Market costs and the ongoing Ofgem Targeted Charging Review are also likely to make the energy landscape for energy-intensive industries significantly more challenging. These pressures continue to create issues for the sector amidst the backdrop of uncertainty caused by the process of the UK leaving the European Union.
I recently spoke about the potential benefits Heathrow Airport’s expansion could have on the UK steel industry, with up to 8,400 jobs set to be added to the wider Welsh economy and thousands of tonnes of steel being required to construct the third runway. I’m lobbying Heathrow to site one of its regional logistic hubs in Llanwern to ensure Newport reaps as much of the economic reward this project brings as possible.