Fight to save steel in­dus­try goes on

Rutherglen Reformer - - News From The Pews -

The fight to save our steel in­dus­try con­tin­ues, and I’ve been work­ing on a lo­cal, na­tional, and in­ter­na­tional level to en­sure that steel is given the sup­port it needs.

On Mon­day evening, I took part in an­other de­bate in the House of Com­mons on the cri­sis fac­ing the steel in­dus­try.

I’m grate­ful to Labour for us­ing their op­po­si­tion day de­bate time to again raise the is­sue, and I con­tinue to work on a cross-party ba­sis on the All-Party Par­lia­men­tary Group on Steel at West­min­ster.

Al­though the Tory govern­ment have taken some mea­sures, it is sim­ply not enough, and the steel in­dus­try needs swift and de­ci­sive ac­tion to level the play­ing field.

It is noth­ing short of a dis­grace that the UK Govern­ment are block­ing pro­pos­als to raise tar­iffs on Chi­nese steel.

We must see the lesser duty rule lifted, and the govern­ment have to act to sup­port this.

The scales are cur­rently weighted against us – tipped un­fairly by mas­sive amounts of sub­sided Chi­nese prod­uct.

Un­less we force a re­bal­ance, the sit­u­a­tion will not change.

In­deed, the op­po­site seems to be true, as we move to­wards a sit­u­a­tion where China will gain mar­ket econ­omy sta­tus, ad­vo­cated by our ever-will­ing Chan­cel­lor.

The Tory man­i­festo made a claim that they are “the party of work­ing peo­ple”.

Rhetoric is all well and good, but the steel­work­ers in Cly­de­bridge are some of the hard­est-work­ing peo­ple I know, and they de­serve to be prop­erly sup­ported.

And it’s not just Cam­bus­lang; the cri­sis fac­ing the in­dus­try is caus­ing crises in the homes of steel­work­ers the length and breadth of Bri­tain, and through­out Europe.

I re­cently at­tended a high-level sum­mit chaired by the EU aimed at bring­ing to­gether stake­hold­ers from all over Europe to dis­cuss sup­port for our en­ergy in­ten­sive in­dus­tries such as steel.

One thing that be­came clear to me is just how out-of-step the UK Govern­ment is with the rest of Europe.

Rather than stand­ing up for our steel in­dus­try, they are crawl­ing up to China.

I’m proud of the ac­tion taken by the Scot­tish Govern­ment so far.

The ap­proach un­der­taken has seen real in­ter­est from al­ter­na­tive oper­a­tors, with a pos­si­bil­ity re­main­ing that the mills at Cly­de­bridge and Dalzell can be kept op­er­a­tional by a new owner.

If that is the case – and I hope it is – then the new op­er­a­tor will be able to re­sume pro­duc­tion swiftly due to the Scot­tish Govern­ment’s steel work­ers re­ten­tion plan.

The Scot­tish Govern­ment have put a num­ber of mea­sures in place – the task force, the Steel In­dus­try Ad­vanced Man­u­fac­tur­ing Up­skilling Pro­gramme, a de­tailed man­u­fac­tur­ing plan for Scot­land – which sin­gles out steel as a “vi­tal strate­gic as­set”, ac­tion on busi­ness rates, an ex­pert ad­vice and sup­port ser­vice for en­ergy in­ten­sive in­dus­tries, and a de­car­bon­i­sa­tion of in­dus­try steer­ing group to as­sist with the tran­si­tion to lower car­bon forms of pro­duc­tion, to name a few.

The Tories need to step up to the plate, and de­liver at an EU level.

They owe it to our hard­work­ing steel­work­ers, to stand up now and take the bold ac­tion so des­per­ately needed.

Un­less we force a re­bal­ance, the sit­u­a­tion will not change

Steel­ing them­selves Mar­garet Fer­rier MP with Clare Adam­son MSP at a re­cent sum­mit in Brus­sels

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