Press release

Government to 'level playing field' for British steel suppliers

New guidelines released to support UK steel suppliers in competing for government contracts.

steel frame

Government has today published new guidelines for departments to apply on major projects when sourcing and buying steel. The new instructions will help steel suppliers compete on a level playing field with international suppliers for major government projects.

Government departments will be encouraged to take into account the social impacts of competing suppliers. This includes the impact on jobs, protecting the health and safety of staff and the social integration of disadvantaged workers as well as placing a responsibility on firms to upskill the workforce. The guidance encourages departments to assess the carbon footprint of bids and requires contractors to advertise their requirements for steel so that UK steel firms can compete. This will improve visibility of opportunities on major projects such as HS2 and Network Rail, so that UK steel suppliers will be able to bid.

The new requirements, spearheaded by the Steel Procurement Working Group, are intended to open up the steel market, level the playing field for UK business and stimulate competition.

Matthew Hancock, Paymaster General and Chair of the Working Group, said:

By asking procurers on major UK projects to consider social and environmental impacts, we are building a Britain that is happier, healthier and better off.

We will always strive to get the best value for money for taxpayers and we are going to do so in a way that strengthens our economy and bolsters the long-term prosperity of people across the country.

I don’t want contracts going abroad if the best bid is a British bid with all the social and economic benefits that brings.

Notes to editors

  1. The instructions apply to all infrastructure, construction or any major procurement project with a significant steel component where the overall project requirement has a capital value of above £10 million.
  2. Environmental criteria could include the carbon footprint of sourcing and transporting construction materials.
  3. Social criteria could include taking into account the benefits of employment and supply chain activity, including the protection of the health and safety of staff involved in the production process and the integration of disadvantaged workers.
Published 30 October 2015