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, the Chair of the Select Committee, and I welcome the prospect of that inquiry. There is a lot to examine, and she will approach it with her usual forensic attention to detail. I very much hope that the new Prime Minister will continue the commitment that the current Prime Minister was willing to give and the authority that she has given me to act in the way that I have. She and others will hold to account the new Prime Minister and his team on that.

The hon. Lady is right; there is something special about steel assets in many respects, but one is that if they are closed down, it is very hard for them to spring back into life, so continuity is of great importance. That is one of the achievements that, together, we have been able to bring about over recent weeks.

No one is keener than I am to conclude a sector deal. It requires investment. There is an opportunity for the British steel industry to be more strategic than it has been and, as some other sectors have done, align itself to some of the products that we know will be in demand in the future, backed by research and development. That is the approach that the industrial strategy takes, and it applies in spades to steel, so I hope there will be a sector deal to reflect that.