Shipbuilding: Use of British Steel for Royal Navy - Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:57 pm on 30 November 2021.

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Photo of Lord West of Spithead Lord West of Spithead Labour 2:57, 30 November 2021

I thank the Minister for his answer. I have to say I am a little disappointed by that. There is a need for a sovereign capability to build ships, and part of that is the steel that is used to build them. It is disappointing that the refreshed shipbuilding strategy that we have been promised for a long time now is still not out, even though there has been the spending review, and we were told that it would come out shortly after that. I hope that, when it comes out, it will point out very clearly that ships such as the fleet solid support ship will have to be built in the UK, and that we have a whole rolling programme of shipbuilding, as that is essential for our ship programme.

The Minister mentioned that we are not able now to provide all the types of steel required for nuclear submarines, but only a few years ago we were ahead of everyone in the world in our ability to produce these types of steel. Is this an area that we are actually going to resolve so that we can provide the steel required for the nuclear submarine programme from steel within this country? Are we considering bringing forward the clean steel fund by some two years so we can actually produce clean steel in this country to meet all the green targets that we have been set?