Business and Trade – in the House of Commons on 18th May 2023.
What steps she is taking to support the steel sector.
What steps her Department is taking to support the steel industry.
We are actively engaging with the steel industry to secure a positive and sustainable future. Alongside that, my Department announced the British Industry Supercharger in February—a decisive and necessary intervention that will help to reduce energy costs for energy intensive industries such as steel.
As the Minister knows, the key issues facing the steel industry are energy prices—we are still paying much more than our European competitors—and decarbonisation. There are 23 clean steel projects in Europe, but none here. In reply the Secretary of State will quote support that is historic, too little, or too late. Labour Members have a plan for steel, where is the Government’s?
I visited the Port Talbot steelworks, and no one there is talking about Labour’s plan; they are talking about what the Government have been doing, and they have been grateful for the support we have provided. It is misleading to call that “historic” when we have been showing continued support for the steel sector. The Government continue to provide that significant financial support, and the steel industry has been able to bid into Government funds worth more than £1 billion to support energy efficiency and decarbonisation.
I thank the Secretary of State for her visit to Scunthorpe steelworks. She knows well the challenges that the steel industry is facing. While the British Industry Supercharger was a welcome announcement that I hope will go a long way to putting us on a fairer footing, I am concerned that some of that support might not be fully in place until 2025. Given current concerns, can she do anything to speed that up?
I thank my hon. Friend for her question and for accompanying me on my visit to British Steel last week. We are moving quickly to deliver the supercharger policy. It will reduce energy costs to energy intensive industries, including steel, by around £20 per megawatt hour. She mentioned speed, and we will consult on the capacity market exemption shortly. We intend to bring forward secondary legislation on all three measures around renewable energy obligations and capacity market costs. I will do everything I can to ensure that businesses get the support they need as quickly as they can.