The Conservatives love to talk about the dangers of over-spending, but what they fail miserably to talk enough about is the cost of under-investment – the cost of doing nothing.
Nowhere is this more obvious than in our steel industry.
We lost not only 1,700 well-paid steelworker jobs at Redcar and the economic and social heartbeat of that community, but over £4.6bn to the Exchequer in lost tax revenue. It was essentially an exercise in ‘levelling-down’.
Steel is not a sunset industry. It is an industry of the future. Many of the grades of steel being made in Port Talbot didn’t exist 10 years ago. And global demand is growing.
And in the transition to green steel, we need to make sure that there is a just transition for workers. For instance, Community Union are making it crystal clear that an Electric Arc Furnace model alone as a solution is not enough.
The industry is evolving, and as we look ahead of us – with the right investment – we see a future of Electric Arc furnaces, direct reduced iron, carbon capture, and green hydrogen.
We Need Our Steel for the everyday economy – from the cars that we drive, to the trains that we ride, to the meals that we eat with our cutlery. We Need Our Steel for key components in our energy supply and for the transition to net zero.
Decarbonisation cannot mean deindustrialisation.
At the heart of Rachel Reeves ‘securonomics’ agenda sits Labour’s Green Prosperity Plan and within that our commitment to a £3bn match-funded Steel Renewal Fund.
This will not only be transformational for the steel industry but for wider manufacturing across the UK.
Hear my full speech from the UK Metals Expo in Birmingham 👇
Opening Keynote – UK Metals Expo
Read my full speech in The Mirror:
‘Don’t punish British steelmakers for doing the right thing’, warns Labour MP – Mirror Online