Labour will create thousands of new jobs and safeguard the future of more than 80,000 existing workers with a new plan announced on Saturday to save the UK steel industry.
The Conservatives have categorically failed to support the domestic steel industry. This year alone British Steel collapsed into administration, thousands of jobs at Tata Steel are at risk and Orbs Steel announced its planned closure. Meanwhile, demand for domestically produced steel is rising with renewable and low-carbon industries such as wind turbines, rail and electric vehicle manufacture.
Labour is committed to boosting the British steel industry with a package of measures. Labour will:
- nvest £1 billion into expanding the sustainable steel recycling industry creating new plants in Workington, Redcar and Corby and will create 3,300 jobs. Steel is 100 per cent recyclable and the UK currently scraps 10 million tonnes of steel a year and instead of recycling domestically, 90 per cent is exported abroad.
- Cut costs for the industry by tackling action to reduce electric prices and removing plant and machinery from business rates revaluations.
- Use public procurement to boost the demand for UK steel. Currently 43 per cent of steel procured by the public sector is produced in the UK.
- Enforce annual reporting of the amount of UK produced steel used in Government projects, in total and by department, as a percentage of the total amount of procured steel.
- Establish a £270 million pot of R&D funding to reduce the environmental footprint of steel production and drive innovation in steel product development so the UK will lead the world in specialised, high value steel. Industry experts report that barriers to the steel industry’s success includes low R&D in new products and services in comparison to international competitors.
Commenting on Labour’s steel strategy Shadow Business Secretary, Rebecca Long Bailey MP said “Unlike the Conservatives, Labour will not sit idly by while the steel industry comes under siege. Just like Thatcher in the 1980s, the Tories have presided over plant closures and job losses during their time in office, devastating whole communities.
“A thriving domestic steel industry is vital to powering our Green Industrial Revolution and investment in infrastructure such as rail.
“Labour will implement a comprehensive strategy for UK steel, taking action on the areas we know are holding back the industry to ensure it can weather any storm.”