Our steelmakers are competing with one hand tied behind their backs due to extortionate energy prices, far higher than for our European competitors. The UK government must take action.
We Need Our Steel for the post-pandemic recovery, and to build a stronger, more resilient economy.
My question to the Secretary of State:
Stephen Kinnock: British steelworkers make the best steel that money can buy, but they are having to compete with one hand tied behind their back because electricity costs our steel companies 86% more than in Germany and 62% more than in France, an issue I raised with the Secretary of State when he met steel MPs on 3 February. On 22 February, the Prime Minister told me from the Dispatch Box that
“we must indeed address the discriminatory costs of energy.”—[Official Report, 22 February 2021; Vol. 689, c. 647.]
What progress has the Secretary of State made in addressing this critical issue since our 3 February discussion, and does he think that the Chancellor understands that there can be no post-pandemic recovery without a strong and healthy steel industry?
Kwasi Kwarteng: My right hon. Friend the Chancellor is fully aware of the importance of the sector. The hon. Gentleman will know—I think he attended the Steel Council where this issue was raised—that we have commissioned work to see what can be done to redress the balance he alludes to.