Nic Dakin

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Business Innovation and Skills Select Committee

crucible.jpgToday the Business Innovation and Skills Select Committee was taking evidence as part of its enquiry into the state of the steel industry. Tata, UK Steel and Community Union all gave clear reasons why action is needed on the 5 asks the industry on making of government: action on energy costs, business rates, procurement, gold plating and Chinese dumping.

The Chair and Secretary of the Steel All Party Group Tom Blenkinsopp MP and Nia Griffith MP gave evidence to show the way in which MPs have being pressing for action over the last few years. Finally the Minister, Anna Soubry MP, gave a commitment to having a UK steel industry into the future.

Tomorrow we will have a debate in the House of Commons urging Government to match these fine words with action. I will be speaking in this debate. The motion is as follows:

'That this House believes that the UK Steel Industry is of national strategic importance and should be supported by the UK Government; notes that the UK steel industry is in crisis, notes the recent closure of SSI in Redcar has resulted in 2,000 direct job losses, with a further 1,000 contractors and 6,000 jobs in the local supply chain, the announcement by Tata Steel that they will no longer produce steel plate at Dalzell, Clydebridge and Scunthorpe has resulted in 1,170 job losses, and that 1,700 jobs are at risk as Caparo Industries has gone into administration, recognises that for every direct steel job lost a further 3 indirect job losses will follow and notes the vital importance of the steel industry to those local communities it serves, the proud industrial heritage of Britain’s steel towns and the very real threat to these parts of the country should the steel industry disappear, and calls upon the Government to take immediate action to protect the steel industry, including immediately implementing the Energy Intensive Industry Compensation Package, taking action with the EU Commission on anti-dumping measures, look at temporary action on Business Rates, review how regulatory frameworks impact the industry, and promote local content and sustainability in procurement contacts, and for the Government to publish a full Industrial Strategy including what level of capacity the Government envisages is needed in the steel industry, so as to safeguard this vital strategic asset.

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