Stephen Kinnock (Aberavon) (Lab): What recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Government’s strategic support for industries and sectors.
The Minister for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise (Anna Soubry): Through sector councils and meetings with companies across all sectors we will continue to work closely with industry to understand its needs and what more Government can do to retain the UK’s competitive position within the global economy.
Stephen Kinnock: I thank the Minister for her response. Given the crucial role of the steel industry to the British manufacturing sector and our very sense of pride and prestige as an industrialised nation, will you today agree to accelerate the full implementation of the energy-intensive industries package? Crippling energy bills are crippling the steel industry, and it is time for the Government to act.
Anna Soubry: The question was obviously to me, Mr Speaker, but that does not matter. Importantly, we know that the steel industry faces very difficult times. It would be fair to say that these are the most difficult times it has ever faced in this country. We are looking at all the things that the Government can do to continue to assist the steel industry, and we have already started that work, which is one of the reasons why I am going to China next week, specifically to talk to the Chinese about their over-production and the allegations of dumping. I could expand on other points and will no doubt do so in answer to supplementary questions.