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Steel Industry — [Mrs Madeleine Moon in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:49 pm on 11th May 2016.

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Photo of Anna Soubry Anna Soubry The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills 3:49 pm, 11th May 2016

The hon. Gentleman can keep on shouting, and I will start to fall out with him. I am happy to say that I will be visiting his constituency and the steelworks there. As he knows, he will get an invitation, just as everyone always does. In Sheffield, we have good examples of outstanding steel makers and ability. Some 50,000 tonnes of Celsa’s UK steel has been used in Crossrail—the biggest construction project in Europe, built almost exclusively using British steel. Some 95,000 tonnes of British steel was used in the construction of the new Elizabeth aircraft carriers, and Network Rail sources 98% of its steel rail from the United Kingdom—as we all know, it comes mainly from Scunthorpe.

On the point about Ajax, a large part of that steel was unfortunately not made in this country. The remainder was certainly going through a UK buyer. There is of course more that we could do, but we are mapping out indicative quantities of steel for key projects in the infrastructure and Government construction pipelines, including HS2, new nuclear and offshore wind. One piece of work that I am determined to carry on doing relates to fracking. There is a huge job that can be done that will have huge benefits for our steel industry. I will speak bluntly: we have to get on with fracking. I met representatives of that industry only recently. We know that fracking could have real benefits for our steel industry. It was a great joy and pleasure to go to the plant in Hartlepool, which also has excellent unions, good management and an outstanding workforce and is hugely important for that community. They make an outstanding product. They do not make the seamless pipes that have to be used for fracking, but I do not see why we cannot look at making their pipes absolutely compliant so that they can be used.

I had another great visit going up to Rotherham to meet Members who represent the steelworks there. It also has an excellent workforce, outstanding unions and good management with a credible plan and a long-term future. I am proud, as we all should be, of the fact that one third of all landing gear apparently has a component made in Stocksbridge. I was also told that every aeroplane in the world has at least one component made from steel from Stocksbridge.