My colleague Jessica Morden MP secured an Adjournment Debate in the House on the steel industry. During the debate I raised the issue of unlocking the stalemate around the trade defence measures and the critical role Tata steel will play in the future of our manufacturing sector.
I also reminded the Minister of the importance of blast furnace steel production in the UK. Our furnaces are vital to the future of producing high quality steel in Britain, in limiting our CO2 emissions by reducing reliance on imports and providing thousands of jobs.
Stephen Kinnock: Will the Minister underline our commitment to blast furnaces as a central part of the steel-making process? With the right investment, we can make the transition to hydrogen and so on, but blast furnace production is absolutely central.
Nadhim Zahawi: The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right that we have to make sure that, as a foundation industry, steel continues to innovate. Whether it is electric arc or other emerging technologies, such as hydrogen, which we are seeing the adoption of, we are absolutely committed to that.
Stephen Kinnock: The support to Celsa was absolutely welcome and we certainly appreciate that, but what about Tata Steel? The Minister says he is looking for strategic importance and a viable business that will play a critical role in the future of our manufacturing sector. Surely, Tata Steel qualifies on all three counts?
Nadhim Zahawi: The hon. Gentleman will know, because he is deeply involved with Tata Steel in his constituency, that that is absolutely right with regard to the strategic importance of Tata Steel. I hope he will forgive the fact that I will be unable to go any further at this stage because of the need to protect commercial confidentiality. Suffice to say that he is absolutely right that it ticks all those boxes.
Stephen Kinnock: My hon. Friend is making a powerful speech. On the issue of safeguards to ensure that we can continue to sell our steel into the EU, does she agree that the UK Government should now be making a unilateral offer to suspend all trade dumping measures against EU steel coming into this country, so that we can unlock the stalemate around the trade defence measures?
Jessica Morden: I do indeed. I believe that would be a generous offer to unblock the current stalemate.