Whitsun Adjournment

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:50 pm on 23rd May 2019.

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Photo of Nicholas Dakin Nicholas Dakin Opposition Whip (Commons) 2:50 pm, 23rd May 2019

We have been privileged to hear a masterclass from Sir David Amess—I will call him the hon. Member for the city of Southend—on how to speak in the end-of-term Adjournment debate. I am a mere apprentice to his great talent.

I take this opportunity to pay tribute to steelworkers and their families across the country, and across the ages, for their contribution to our nation. They have been in the vanguard of its growth, prosperity and development. They are amazing men and women, and they have had some tough times and tough years. The last few weeks have been some of the toughest. Yesterday, British Steel, which employs 4,500 people in Scunthorpe and across the local area, with probably 20,000 people working in the supply chain, went into compulsory liquidation. Steelworkers and their families, the contractor base and people who work in the supply chain will understandably be worried and concerned, as I am. But I know that we have a good business, and the country needs this business. Despite the challenge, I am confident about the future.

A few months ago, after a public fundraising campaign, a statue dedicated to steelworkers across the ages was unveiled in Scunthorpe town centre. That iconic statue is a beautiful piece of public art, and people swarmed to the town centre from across the community to recognise it. It demonstrates how the industry cuts through everything that the local area is about.

Steelmaking and steelworkers belong to place. Place is very important in our past, present and future. Many new industries, including digital industries, have been established, and it is good to see that, but they are not as located in place; they can move quickly and freely across boundaries and countries. That creates a huge challenge for us all as policy makers. Place is important, and steelmaking has helped to create the place of Scunthorpe. The discovery in the 1850s of iron ore resulted in iron ore being mined for a long while and eventually led to the building up of the steel industry.