UK Steel Industry

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 5:28 pm on 9th July 2019.

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Photo of Jessica Morden Jessica Morden Opposition Whip (Commons), Chair, Statutory Instruments (Joint Committee), Chair, Statutory Instruments (Select Committee) 5:28 pm, 9th July 2019

Thank you, Mr Hollobone. I was talking about Cogent Power and the potential in the electric vehicles industry, because demand for electric vehicles is only going to grow and we have a fantastic opportunity with that company to get in on the cutting edge of that new industry and to develop a supply chain for it. But these are smaller companies and will need the Government to help to bring the supply chain together. The Orb works is the only plant in the UK capable of making the steels and is therefore a strategically important business that can support the Government’s industrial strategy in relation to electrification. We must take advantage of that new industry. I visited Orb recently and have invited the Secretary of State for Wales. I would be very keen for the Minister from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy also to visit when he is in Newport, which I think might be fairly soon. That plant must be able to take advantage of that opportunity, but we need the Government’s help for that.

As well as Llanwern and Orb, Liberty Steel is based in my constituency. Liberty bought the old Alphasteel plant in 2015, and Sanjeev Gupta has announced that it has now become one of the largest steel producers in Europe, with a global footprint employing 30,000 workers. It appreciates that steel is a cyclical business and needs investment to get it through the cycles in order to make money. It is working on a model of an exciting bright future for steel, but it too asks the Government to deliver on the industrial strategy with a delivery taskforce to support and drive the investment that we need, particularly in the green steel area.

On behalf of the steel industry and workers in my area, I will repeat the asks so often made in these debates. We have waited too long for a sector deal for steel. We need more and faster action on energy prices. We need more action on procurement. We also need more action on dumping and on what will happen with the trade defence instruments in Europe. I am grateful for the opportunity to take part in this debate. On behalf of all those who work in Llanwern and at Liberty, I hope that we can expect action and not more warm words from the Minister.