British steel - a strategic national asset
Steel manufacture sits at the heart of my constituency of Penistone & Stocksbridge - whether directly through manufacture, or indirectly through the web of interconnected supply chain activity. Steel manufacturing is an essential part of the livelihood of many of our local communities, and that is why I continue to campaign for UK steel, and Speciality Steels in Stocksbridge to be recognised as a strategic national asset.
The steel industry is fundamental to our future in the UK and we can't reach our net zero commitments or our infrastructure targets without steel - it is a strategic national asset and it must be supported.
The benefits of a thriving steel sector are not just environmental but geopolitical. In a volatile world, a strong domestic steel sector is a vital pillar of economic independence, industrial resilience and national security. COVID-19 has shown the benefits of UK-based manufacturing; retaining and growing a thriving green steel sector is a safeguard for future industrial capability as we embark on our new journey as 'Global Britain.
Steel manufacturers such as Speciality Steels in Stocksbridge produce high-quality components that are used here in the UK and across the world. But our steel is not competing on a level playing field. Our steel has half the carbon footprint of equivalent Chinese imports, and so I am confident that as countries follow the UK’s lead in reducing emissions demand for green steel will increase.
The Government recognises the importance of the UK steel sector, and that's why I called for assurance from the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, to do what it takes to safeguard jobs and livelihoods and secure the future of steelmaking in the UK?
In response the Prime Minister said:
I thank my hon. Friend, who is a passionate and successful advocate for her constituents and for steelmaking in this country, in which this Government passionately believe. That is why ... we are supporting the UK steel industry with more than £500 million of relief, and also with huge investments to make our steelmaking greener and more competitive. We will do everything we can to ensure that we continue with British jobs in producing British steel with the infrastructure investments that I have mentioned and directing procurement at British jobs in the way that we now can. The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson