LLANELLI’S MP Nia Griffith signed the UK Steel Charter at a recent event in Parliament. The charter, organised by the steel industry trade body, sets out a series of practical steps that can be taken to support UK steel producers, including sourcing quality steel from local suppliers.
Nia Griffith MP explained, “UK steel is facing a perfect storm of a lack of support from the UK Government, orders drying up due to seemingly endless Brexit uncertainty, cheap steel imports from China and President Trump’s tariffs. The recent news about the collapse of British Steel will be of great concern steelworkers at Port Talbot and Trostre, whose plants face similar challenges.
“MPs from steel communities are doing what we can to fight back and get more support for the steel industry. We met with trade unions and steel company representatives last month to launch the UK Steel Charter, which aims to support the industry. I am pleased that the Welsh Government has signed up to this, and I would encourage all local businesses and councils to do so.”
The UK Steel Charter is an initiative aimed at maximising the amount of UK produced steel used in UK construction and infrastructure projects. With just over half of the steel purchased for UK construction projects currently coming from abroad, the potential to purchase more steel from UK producers is significant and would boost steel production, support steel jobs and communities, strengthen manufacturing supply chains, and increase UK GDP.
Ms Griffith added, “The new Business Minister Andrew Stephenson MP was at the event to sign the charter, but his government has so far not shown any willingness to support UK steel with a proper joined up industrial strategy. They have blocked progress on securing a steel sector deal and done nothing to tackle the high energy costs that steelworks face. I will keep pushing the UK Government to follow Welsh Government in doing everything possible to secure the future of our steel industry.”
UK Steel Director General Gareth Stace said, “I am incredibly proud that my organisation is launching the UK Steel Charter. We have worked hand in hand with the UK, Welsh and Scottish Governments in recent years to change the way steel is procured in this country, much progress has been made but we know more can still be done. I am therefore incredibly pleased to see the Department for Business signing up to this charter, making a strong showing of support for our industry.
“This initiative, and BEIS’s support for it, will encourage as many organisations as possible to take a more proactive and thoughtful approach to their procurement of steel in the future, and importantly publicise the exemplar approach that many organisations are already taking.”
“UK public procurement accounts for a massive 14% of UK GDP each year, its decisions are therefore a hugely important policy tool and perhaps the most significant intervention the Government makes in the economy. Government procurement decisions are important in themselves but also as a driver and catalyst for positive change elsewhere in the economy. It is therefore essential that a more strategic and long term approach to procurement is developed, sitting at the heart of the Industrial Strategy.