Stephen Kinnock: on the day when the prime minister is painting herself as the champion of patriotism, we learn of this betrayal of the British steel industry and steel workers: this government may know the price of foreign steel, but it clearly doesn’t understand the value of British industry.
Commenting on reports that the contract to provide steel for the upgrade of Britain’s Trident nuclear deterrent are to be awarded to a French firm, Stephen Kinnock, Member of Parliament for Aberavon, said:
“The news emerging today that BAE have opted to use French, not British steel, for the renewal of trident is a betrayal of British industry and workers. If the government had done their job and ensured BAE used British steel, it could have helped save over 1,000 jobs, at Scunthorpe alone.
“This week began with the Business Secretary failing to mention steel in his speech to Tory Party Conference, and today we learn that the amnesia is collective.
“Just six months ago the government championed new procurement rules that would, they said, allow British steel companies to compete on a level playing field for public sector contracts, proudly declaring that public sector contracts must specifically consider UK steel. It seems that the Prime Minister now considers short-term cost cutting as being more important than British industry and workers. What a difference six months makes. We are once again seeing that the government’s response to the steel crisis is based on a toxic combination of incompetence and indifference.
“On the day when the Prime Minister is painting herself as the champion of patriotism and all of Britain, we are astonished to learn of this betrayal of the British steel industry, and of our steel workers.
“Once again we have a government that says one thing, but does another. The British steel industry won’t be saved with warm words, it will only be saved by tangible actions.
“And today the government have shown once again, that while they may know the price of foreign steel, they clearly don’t understand the value of British industry. This news makes clear that the government’s much-vaunted new procurement guidelines aren’t worth the paper they are written on.
“That is why we need fresh procurement rules that are actually adhered to, action to reduce energy costs and a proper industrial strategy.
“British steel could and should have been used for the Trident replacement, and the government’s decision to use foreign steel instead is a bitter pill to swallow. This betrayal will not be forgotten in Port Talbot, Scunthorpe, Clydebridge, or at steelworks across the length and breadth of the country.”