In Defence Questions today I challenged the UK Government to increase the uptake of UK Steel it procures for defence projects.
Recent research from the GMB Union highlighted that the UK Government had spent £6.8m on overseas metals in the last year, including for the Royal Navy’s Dreadnought nuclear-armed submarines, while the director general of industry body UK Steel, Gareth Stace, recently said that the Government “still appears to be failing to keep track of where most the steel used in public projects comes from.”
Speaking today I said “Last month, UK Steel criticised the ‘opaque procurement processes’ involved in the defence sector. I know government will agree that UK steel is vital to our national interest, so will they set clear and transparent objectives regarding UK steel in defence projects and commit to the engage with the industry early, meaningfully and often in the procurement process?”
In response, Defence Minister Jeremy Quin accepted the need for transparency and stated there would be “good opportunities for UK steel manufacturers in the future.”
It’s wrong that government departments – including the Ministry of Defence – continue to spend millions on foreign steel every year. The Government needs to recognise the strategic importance of the British steel industry to our economy – particularly locally in South Wales – and step up to take action and ensure that public contracts are retained in the UK.