Committing to the future of the UK steel industry
Today, March 29, I have written to Kwasi Kwarteng, Secretary of State for Business, asking for the Government to secure the future of Stocksbridge Speciality Steels.
The funding challenges faced by the GFG Alliance are widely reported, and the Government is right not to 'bailout' GFG because there is no guarantee that taxpayers money would stay in the UK or save a single job in Stocksbridge. However, should the Liberty Group enter administration, I'm asking the Government to step in immediately to protect jobs and livelihoods in Stocksbridge until a buyer can be found.
Transcript of letter to Kwasi Kwarteng, Secretary of State for Business
"Thank you for taking the time to meet with me again last week to discuss Stocksbridge Speciality Steels in my constituency, which is facing an uncertain future due to the funding challenges surrounding the Liberty Group and GFG Alliance.
As you know, the steel industry has provided well-paid work in the area for generations, and as a local community we are anxious about the future of these jobs — jobs that we cannot afford to lose. Stocksbridge Speciality Steels is also a unique asset of strategic national importance, producing high value materials for a range of sectors including aerospace and defence. This is a capability that the UK must retain.
I know that efforts are being made by the owners to refinance the Liberty Group. I support the Government’s decision not to bailout the GFG Alliance; there are absolutely no guarantees that any taxpayer funds would remain in the UK or save a single job in my constituency. However, given the well-publicised difficulties of the GFG Alliance, there is of course a chance that refinancing is not successful and Liberty Group enters administration.
Should this situation arise, I would ask the Government to step in rapidly to indemnify the official receiver, so that the Stocksbridge plant can continue to operate, produce steel and pay wages until an appropriate buyer can be found. This approach was highly successful in saving British Steel in Scunthorpe, and the Government’s intervention has been widely credited with keeping the plant operational.
There is no reason why Stocksbridge Speciality Steels cannot be a similar success story. Steel is vital to the future of the UK and we cannot meet our Net Zero targets or infrastructure ambitions without it. It is hugely important for our security, our economy, and our environment that we retain a strong domestic steel industry, and I believe that Stocksbridge Speciality Steels is well-placed to play an important role in this.
I am grateful to you and to the Prime Minister for your firm commitments to the future of the UK steel industry, and for your continued close engagement with management, unions, and myself on this issue."