Labour MP for Redcar, Anna Turley, today (17th September) led a debate in the House of Commons on the crisis in steelmaking and called on the government to keep the industry alive.
She revealed new statistics which show that the steel industry in the UK is disadvantaged to the tune of £431million per year compared with our global competitors as a result of the exchange rate, energy policy costs, air pollution targets and business rates.
Anna set out the five key actions the Government can take today to reduce these costs and give the British steel sector the chance to stay alive in this fiercely competitive global market:
- Fully implement the Energy Intensive Industries Compensation Package, well ahead of the committed date of April 2016
- Bring Business Rates for capital intensive firms in line with their competitors in France and Germany. UK companies are currently paying between five and 10 times more than their EU competitors
- Consider derogation requests for a more realistic timetable for meeting the Industrial Emissions Directive
- Extend support for further EU anti-dumping measures to help protect against suppression of prices by cheap Chinese steel
- Support and insist on local steel in major public projects and strategic operations
Speaking in the chamber, Anna said:
“We have already experienced the devastation of losing our plant. We cannot go through this again. I ask the Minister in desperation to consider the request for financial assistance from SSI so that we can continue to see wages being paid. So we can get the 50,000 tonnes of cargo that is sitting on the dock as we speak a mile down the road to the blast furnace. So the gas can keep pumping, so the coal can load the furnace and the workers can pay their mortgages and feed their families. So the proud tradition of steel making on Redcar can remain the beating heart of our community.”
“As I said in my maiden speech there already is a ‘Northern Powerhouse’ – it’s called Teesside. If the Government doesn’t act today we will know their words are hollow.”
Watch Anna's full introductory speech in the debate: