Yesterday in Parliament I called for action on a sector deal for the steel industry ahead of the autumn budget later this month.
I’ve signed a letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Steel and Metal-Related Industries which calls on the Government to take action to deliver a more competitive environment for the British steel industry. The letter reinforces key asks from UK Steel, the industry body representing the steel sector, which include the creation of an industrial energy efficiency fund and action on energy costs for the steel industry.
I raised this issue in a question to Ministers at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, saying: “Members of the All Party Parliamentary Steel group have written to the Chancellor ahead of the budget calling for specific measures to help our steel industry. Will Ministers support these calls, and when will we see a much-needed steel sector deal.”
Business Minister Richard Harrington responded by saying that he was in regular correspondence with the steel industry about a steel sector deal, and was optimistic that plans in this field were developing.
I know from speaking to steel companies, trade unions and steelworkers in Newport East that a long-term commitment to the industry from the UK Government in the form of a comprehensive, wide-reaching sector deal is vital. We need Ministers to take action to ensure a level playing field and competitive business environment for our industry. This would include taking action on energy prices – steel companies in the UK, including in Newport, currently pay over 50% more in energy costs than their German and French counterparts.
I look forward to the Minister providing further information on the progress towards a steel sector deal – we need concrete assurances that the Government is prioritising this issue and that is why, along with other steel MPs, I have signed this letter calling for substantive action from the Chancellor in his Autumn Budget.