Labour and Co-operative MP for Redcar, Anna Turley, has called for action to stop the steel industry lurching to yet another crisis after the closure of Redcar steelworks in 2015.
At the 2015 steel summit, held amid the Redcar steel crisis, the industry presented a number of asks on issues like energy costs and business rates where UK steelmakers are unfairly disadvantaged compared to our competitors. Many of those issues remain almost four years on.
Speaking in a Westminster Hall debate on Tuesday on the future of the UK steel industry, the Redcar MP said the Government’s decision to opt for a hard closure of Redcar steelworks in 2015 was a devastating demonstration of what happens when the industry is failed.
“Yet again we are here in another steel crisis whilst steelworkers are sat at home hoping and praying they still have a salary to provide for their families.
“I am here today not just to fight on behalf of the 700 British Steel workers on Teesside, but also because of what happened to us in Redcar in 2015. The average salary in Redcar is down £10,000 a year, many have had to move away to find work. I met a worker a month ago who has had 13 different jobs since losing his job at the steelworks. This is the kind of insecurity and economic disaster we have if the Government does not stand by our steel industry.”
On the situation at British Steel, Anna welcomed the approach of Business Secretary Greg Clark and repeated the need to find a credible buyer for the whole business:
“I pay tribute to the Secretary of State. He understands the importance of this industry to our country, to our defence, to our manufacturing, and to our place in the world. The government backed indemnity has bought time to find a solution, ensuring the workforce are paid and the assets remain in operation. We must keep the business together. It is absolutely vital the government supports bidders for the whole industry. No more cherry-picking and assets strippers like Greybull.”
Anna also stressed the importance of innovation to keep Britain at the forefront of the world steel industry, developing new steel products, and urged the Government to give Teesside’s world-leading Materials Processing Institute it’s full backing:
“We can’t beat China and others on price but we can on lighter, stronger, and greener steel. The Materials Processing Institute in my constituency do fantastic work. They are 75 years old, forming just after D-Day. They support the development of really important innovations and if we don’t support organisations like the Institute already doing work on this, we will see more redundancies and huge capability lost.”
Reflecting on the impact of Brexit, Anna said:
“The steel industry is clear that no Brexit deal will bring any benefits. The disaster of no deal cannot be underestimated. No deal means no steel.”