Stephen Kinnock, Member of Parliament for Aberavon and Chair of the Steel 2020 sub-committee of the All Party Parliamentary Group of Steel and Metal Related Industries, will today (Monday 23 January) publish the APPG's industrial strategy for steel:
Steel 2020: Forging a future for the British steel industry.
The product of an 8 month inquiry which took evidence from across the steel industry and its supply chain, and from the shop floor to the boardroom, the report lays out a blueprint industrial strategy for the UK steel industry that will enable it not only to survive, but to thrive.
Commenting on the report, Stephen Kinnock said:
“Ever since I entered Parliament in 2015 I have been, along with my colleagues from steel communities, calling on the government to come forward with a long term industrial strategy for steel. Whilst ministers may have been content to sit on their hands and do nothing, we were not, which is why we have produced this comprehensive document.
“After the closure of SSI Redcar, and the now year long crisis at Tata Steel, felt particularly acutely at the Port Talbot steelworks in my Aberavon constituency, it has become clear that the steel industry is at a cross roads.
“The UK steel industry has been hamstrung by government policies that place our steel industry at a significant disadvantage, by comparison to global competitors. It is a testament to the professionalism, skill and dedication of the workforce that the industry has been able to keep pace and continue to innovate, but without radical and urgent policy action the industry, and the communities represented by the APPG, could be facing a future of perpetual crisis and decline.
“If we continue along the current path, characterised by a government whose attitude can best be described as a toxic combination of incompetence and indifference, we will see the further decline of the industry and our communities.
“However, as this report shows, another path is possible and achievable. With strategic action from government and the industry we can build a better future for the British steel industry, we can trigger a modern manufacturing renaissance, we can re-balance the British economy, and we can forge a new, more resilient, kind of growth.
“Steel 2020 contains 43 tangible policy recommendations, and we are confident that if the government were to implement them we would see a step-change in the British steel industry's ability to compete on the global stage. But not one of those 43 points is a request for charity, or for special treatment. No, Steel 2020 is merely asking for a level playing field. By building an investment friendly environment the government will allow the UK steel industry to do more than survive, but to thrive. That is why the government must remove the existing disincentives to investment posed by a punitive business rates regime and crippling energy prices. The government must firm up procurement policies to support the British steel industry, support skills development, invest in R&D and build a partnership approach to industrial relations and management.
“Steelworkers and their families and communities have been put through hell, and the difficult times continue. We hope that our report will send a clear message to all those who care as passionately as we do about the future of this proud and vital foundation industry: we will not allow this government to abandon you to your fate; we will fight tooth and nail to close the gap between rhetoric and reality, and we we will not relent until the warm words are converted into practical action.
“If ministers were to commit to the recommendations in this report they would not only be helping to build a stronger and more resilient steel industry, they would also be helping to build a stronger and more resilient Britain.”