Another week, another steel debate! It was useful that I bumped into local Community Union leaders on the train down to Westminster. They updated me on how things are on the works. In summary it's pretty tough as the reduction in the workforce, including the cross-matching is being driven forward. The process of due diligence with Greybull Capital scrutinising everything about Tata's Long Products business is progressing on a timely basis but has inevitably led to all sort of difficult questions needing examination. So tough times, but a sense that progress is being made in the right direction.
Likewise the local Steel Task Force continues to do everything it can to provide appropriate support. So Monday's Steel debate was a great opportunity for steel MPs to put further pressure on the Conservative Government to deliver the support for this key strategic industry that it's long promised. We are particularly frustrated that the UK Government has been obstructing the EU Commission from taking tougher action against Chinese dumping.
I also called on the Government to do more to ensure its new public procurement guidelines result in a high level local UK steel content in Dong Energy's North Sea wind farms. That way British tax payers and British energy bill payers will be supporting British Steel. Treasury Questions was an opportunity for me to follow up with questions to the Chancellor - has the UK steel industry got a better future inside or outside the EU and what actions he is taking to support UK steel? He was clear about the EU - best in - and made the right sounds about supporting steel. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating! With the Budget next week act now to support our steel industry Mr Osbourne!
Humber MPs had two productive meetings with Ministers this week. The first was with the Environment Minister about issues causing difficulty for Phillips 66. It was positive to see that as a result of us getting a meeting the right discussions had taken place and the problem seemed resolved.
We also met with the Energy and Skills Ministers to argue the case for the National Wind College to come to the Humber. This would draw on our strong FE and HE provision and add to the offer to energy businesses looking to invest in the region. Having the Humber LEP in the meeting helped us get a very positive hearing from both Ministers. On the subject of innovative sources of energy I was pleased to join Ralph Day from Merlin Renewables at a Commons reception for Anaerobic Digestion plants. This was a reminder of how innovation is diversifying farming and making a real difference to our lives.
We had the first meeting of Labour's Education Commission which was an interesting insight into how we develop policy drawing on the expertise, ideas and experience of the membership.
Finally I asked the Euro Sceptic Culture Secretary why he is spending his time arguing for Brexit when his department says there is over £300 billion to be made by UK businesses out of a unified EU digital market. There was laughter across the Chamber!