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Steel Industry — [Mrs Madeleine Moon in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:07 pm on 11th May 2016.

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Photo of Anna Turley Anna Turley Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office) 3:07 pm, 11th May 2016

I appreciate the hon. Lady’s point because I do not think it should be an either/or: we can work together on investing seriously in research and development in steel.

On the MPI facility, no other such facility in Europe possesses equal capability. Support for a materials Catapult on Teesside will give British steel making the cutting edge in research and development, encouraging greater investment and resilience for the industry. The MPI, as my hon. Friend the Member for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland has said, has had a direct approach from Sweden. We have also got experts coming from Germany, Australia and Holland. If foreign Governments and commercial operators are engaging with our researchers in the UK to future-proof their steel sectors, can the Minister explain why it is such a struggle to convince officials in the British Government? Do they know something that industry and innovation experts do not?

So those two areas show the potential that we have on Teesside for steel to play a key role in our economic regeneration. It must not be forgotten that we have a thriving chemicals industry and a dynamic port. We have the potential for more investment in energy from waste, carbon capture and storage, carbon dioxide conversion and potash mining. When oil and gas recovers, that can also play a vital role in our economy. I thank the Government for making Redcar College one of its spokes for national colleges for oil and gas. We have great opportunities. Boro have done their bit to get us in the premier league; now it is time for all of us to step up.