Government Have Been Asleep At The Wheel

Stephen Kinnock: On chronology, we hear very often from the Government that all the problems have existed for a long time and that many were building up on Labour’s watch from 1997 to 2010. I accept that point, but there was no Chinese rebar in the British market in 2011. 

Stephen Kinnock: On chronology, we hear very often from the Government that all the problems have existed for a long time and that many were building up on Labour’s watch from 1997 to 2010. I accept that point, but there was no Chinese rebar in the British market in 2011. Today, 45% of rebar is Chinese. In the past four years we have seen a total absence of action. The Government have been asleep at the wheel and the crisis has come to a head. It is important, for the record, that we recognise that the situation has come to a head over the past three to four years.

Tom Blenkinsop: Until 2008, which was a big year for the steel industry, profits were massive. Everything coming out of any plant was getting bought up. The demand in the world was so high because it was driven by Chinese growth. Any bit of steel—slab or whatever—was being absorbed by the Chinese market. Steel producers made very good profits, as did their workforce, who made very good bonuses. I remember negotiating terms and conditions, and pay and pensions for those workers at the time and they did very well.