Fight to save steel industry goes on
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