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Steel Industry — [Mrs Madeleine Moon in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 2:30 pm on 11th May 2016.

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Photo of Tom Blenkinsop Tom Blenkinsop Labour, Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland 2:30 pm, 11th May 2016

I beg to move,

That this House
has considered the future of the UK steel industry.

Before I begin, I would like to congratulate the steel football club of Middlesbrough on re-entering the premier league this weekend. I congratulate the chairman, Steve Gibson, who yet again has shown what a great model can be provided by a fantastic chair over many years. It is high time he was given a knighthood for his services to football.

Today is about the British steel industry. I want to reiterate that the British steel industry has a future. It is not a sunset industry; it is not a basket case. We, as steel MPs, have hammered home the well-versed arguments of industry and Community, the steelworkers’ trade union, that the Government have not provided the will to back trade defence mechanisms, especially in the case of the lesser duty tariff; that Chinese and Russian dumping is causing chaos in the world, European and British steel markets; that an imposition of the carbon floor price on energy-intensives has had significant repercussions; and that compensation for the carbon price floor and the EU emissions trading system has been slow to non-existent, despite continuous British ministerial promises. Business rates also need fundamental reform.

Despite all that, only this week we saw seven potential buyers come forward with the intention of purchasing the remaining Tata assets. Those assets across the UK—from Port Talbot to Shotton, Trostre, Llanwern and Hartlepool—are manufacturing different products at different levels of the stream of steel production. Prior to that, Dalzell and Clydebridge were purchased by Liberty House. Various Caparo sites previously in administration were also purchased by Liberty. Long product sites such as the Teesside beam mill, Skinningrove and the integrated works at Scunthorpe were all purchased by Greybull Capital, with the intention of significant investment. That is not evidence of a sunset industry. Those are serious players with real desires to invest and make money.