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 for my hon. Friend’s generous words. He has been assiduous not just in being a member of the support group, but by working in Skinningrove with the customers of British Steel to convey the assurances that are necessary. Buyers will have questions about this extensive and complex set of assets, so it is important—and will continue to be important, especially during the weeks ahead in August—that everyone is available and active in providing the answers to those questions.

Through the industrial strategy, the Government have established programmes to support improvement in energy efficiency, which is very important; to decarbonise industrial clusters, of which steelmaking is a prime example; and to invest in research and development. Through the industrial strategy, we have the biggest increase in R&D in the history of this country. I am making these points to prospective purchasers so that they can see that the environment is a positive one.

It would be wrong for me to comment on the individual bids, as that is legally and strictly a matter for the official receiver, but I have made myself available in this country and overseas to answer questions. I think that I have had more than 25 meetings with bidders, and it has been encouraging—to use the words of the official receiver—that serious bids have been made, but the work must continue to land them and to secure the future.