Posted: Mon 20th Mar 2023

Sunak urged to take ‘immediate action’ to protect the UK’s steel industry

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Monday, Mar 20th, 2023

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has been urged to take immediate action to protect the UK’s steel industry.

Sharon Graham, general secretary of Unite, has written to the PM over concerns the steel industry in the UK is being left to “wither and decline.”

The letter comes in response to last week’s budget, which Graham argues failed to provide the essential support package needed to preserve the sector.

The letter warns that the government’s inaction in growing and making the steel industry more internationally competitive has caused the sector to shrink and lose skilled jobs.

This development threatens the livelihoods of thousands of workers in Wales, Humberside, Yorkshire, and the North East.

Graham said, “Steel is a foundation industry essential for the success of the UK economy. Despite this, due to years of inaction and an abdication of leadership, this essential industry is being left to wither and decline.”

The general secretary called on the UK government to “stop prevaricating and immediately bring in the necessary support and reforms needed to promote and boost our steel industry.”

The letter outlines what is required to level the playing field for the steel industry:

  1. Investment in line with that given to steel producers in Europe and the United States to invest in technology to meet net zero targets, with electricity or hydrogen replacing coke furnaces. Such investment must be tied to strict job protection guarantees.
  2. A complete revision of UK procurement rules so that all UK infrastructure projects have an obligation to procure UK-made steel. For national security reasons, it must be ensured that the UK has the capacity to produce specialist steel needed in strategic defence projects such as Royal Navy ships in Europe.
  3. Tackling the UK’s runaway energy costs, which are making steel production in the UK uncompetitive and were, even before the current energy crisis, already far higher than.

Unite, the UK’s leading union, represents thousands of steel workers employed throughout the country’s steel industry.

The letter to the Prime Minister: 

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