British Steel

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:05 pm on 24th July 2019.

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Photo of Greg Clark Greg Clark The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy 1:05 pm, 24th July 2019

I am grateful to the hon. Lady for asking the question that has given us the chance to talk about these issues. She has been dedicated and devoted to her constituents, as have other Members—starting the week with me in Doncaster with the colleagues I described to ensure that we can work together and join together to ensure that there are no gaps between any of the interested parties. That has had an appreciable effect, as has been noted by many prospective buyers. Certainly, many customers and suppliers have also observed the resolution and the unanimity of resolution behind this.

Many of the hon. Lady’s questions were addressed to whoever might be the Secretary of State under the new Prime Minister, so it would be presumptuous of me to answer on his or her behalf, but she has placed a clear set of requirements on the record and I endorse everything she said. Not only would the consequences of the loss of historical assets—hugely important in all the communities she mentions—be unconscionable; there would also be the loss of a substantial opportunity.

The hon. Lady, like me, believes that there is a strong strategic future for the British steel industry. As I said in my previous answer, the world is going to need steel. Through investing in infrastructure, this country has opportunities to make greater use of UK steel. We export much in the way of our scrap steel to other countries. That could be made better use of, both environmentally and in terms of industrial opportunities. If we invest—as we intend to and are doing through the industrial strategy—in the technologies that will make steelmaking cleaner, more efficient and suitable for new uses, there is every reason to think that the UK steel industry, including British Steel, can be a beacon showing the rest of the world how a modern manufacturing industry can flourish.