A top-level summit with the key players from the UK steel industry has agreed that further detailed joint work is urgently required in 3 key areas.
Working groups chaired by ministers will now be set up. They will gather evidence, including from industry, and work through the following issues:
- the ambition is to drive up the number of contracts won by UK steel manufacturers in fair and open competition
- to consider what lessons can be learned from other countries in the EU and beyond
Competitiveness and productivity
- to look at energy and environmental costs, business rates, regulation and what action industry can take to drive up their competitiveness including skills, training and maximising their assets.
The government will also continue to engage with industry about the long-term vision and future for the steel industry. Despite the many challenges the UK has a number of key strengths, particularly in high quality and high performance steels for sectors like aerospace, defence, energy and advanced engineering. It will be important for the UK to stay at the cutting edge.
Business Secretary Sajid Javid said:
There is no straightforward solution to the complex global challenges facing the steel industry. But today (16 October 2015) was an important opportunity to bring the key players together and we now have a framework of action. The government is committed to working closely with industry on both short-term and long-term issues and to doing everything we can to support both industry and the workers. A strong economy underpins everything and we will continue to focus on securing the UK’s economic recovery across the UK.
Facts on the steel industry:
- demand for steel worldwide has not returned to pre-crash levels. World Steel suggest that global demand for steel will remain sluggish, falling by 1.7% in 2015 and rising by 0.7% in 2016
- the price of steel has halved over the past year
- both the yuan and rouble have devalued, adding further pressure to the UK steel industry
Notes to editors:
- The steel summit took place at the Advanced Manufacturing Park Technology Centre in Rotherham.