Labour MP for Redcar, Anna Turley, today 26th August 2015, met Northern Powerhouse Minister James Wharton to demand that the government take more action to support the steel industry on Teesside amid warnings of cash flow problems at the SSI steel plant due to falling global prices.
“It is about time the government replaced words with action and showed its commitment to our steel industry and the jobs it sustains both in Teesside and across the country. I called an urgent meeting today with the Minister for the Northern Powerhouse, James Wharton in order to discuss what support the steel industry needs from his government as a priority.
“Whilst many of the external pressures on the industry are out of our control, there are steps the government can take to level the playing field between UK steelmakers and our main European competitors. Support for energy intensive industries has been slow to materialise when the French and German governments have been supporting their producers in this area for a number of years. Our government should also be taking action to support UK steel in areas such as business taxes and procurement where UK steel is also at a disadvantage.
“We have an excellent plant and committed workforce on Teesside and the enduring commitment of Thai-based SSI to invest in the plant is reassuring. However, the industry also needs government to play its part in helping to create resilience against a challenging global steel market. Where other countries are actively supporting their steel producers, our government do not appear to have the same enthusiasm for an active industrial policy. Steel is important to our region and should be a key part of the Northern Powerhouse. I asked the minister today to demonstrate that his government gets that.”