British Steel

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:40 pm on 21st May 2019.

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Photo of Andrew Stephenson Andrew Stephenson Assistant Whip, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) 12:40 pm, 21st May 2019

I pay tribute to the hon. Lady for the commitment that she and her family have shown to the steel sector over many years. I represent the constituency of Pendle, which is dominated by manufacturing, and I share her passion for the steel sector. I will leave no stone unturned, and neither will the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, in supporting the UK steel sector.

As the House will know, we can only act within the strict bounds of what is legally possible under domestic and European law. I can assure the House that we will continue to do whatever is in our power to support the UK steel industry and those who work in the sector. We are working with the sector, the unions and the devolved Administrations to support all aspects of the UK steel sector.

The Government have taken a number of important longer-term steps, including ensuring that social and economic factors can be taken into account in public sector steel procurement, and providing more than £291 million in compensation to the steel sector since 2013 to make energy costs more competitive. We have also published a pipeline of upcoming national infrastructure projects every year to enable steel businesses to plan for future demand.

As I mentioned earlier, I signed the UK steel charter yesterday, and I will be encouraging other hon. Members and Government Departments to do the same. We want to acknowledge the importance of this industry.