This petition was submitted during the 2015–2017 Conservative government
Petition Please help keep Teesside Steelmaking open.
Without Steelmaking, Teesside as a whole will become a 'Ghost town' with so many hard workers out of jobs and smaller companies struggling due to the major loss.
We need your help to save the people of Teesside - because it's not just the workers who will suffer. It's all of us.
This petition is closed This petition ran for 6 months
This response was given on 16 March 2016
This is a difficult time for Teesside. We are helping those who lost their jobs back into work. And we are ensuring a viable future for the UK steel industry by acting on cheap imports, (contd)
Read the response in full
energy costs, procurement, and emissions regulations.
The UK steel sector is facing unparalleled global economic conditions. The price of some steel products has halved and the world is producing more steel than it needs. This has led to many companies having to take difficult commercial decisions including redundancies across Tata UK and Sheffield Forgemasters and the closure of the SSI steel plant in Teeside.
Throughout this crisis, the Government has worked intensively and pro-actively with the sector to support the UK’s steel industry. On 16th October 2015 we hosted a Steel Summit in order to discuss how best to proceed with key Government and industry participants as well as constituency MPs, recognising the significant part steel companies play in local communities. Since then, and through the efforts of three ministerially chaired Working Groups, the Government has been unceasing in its efforts to deliver on the five key ‘Asks’ put to us by our partners in the steel industry:
1. Lower energy costs: on 14 December the Government received State Aid approval to pay compensation to Energy Intensive Industries including steel from renewable policy costs. This will save the industry hundreds of millions of pounds. We will now go further and exempt Energy Intensive Industries from these costs.
2. Flexibility over EU Emissions Regulations: we have now provided the industry with longer lead-in time for compliance with EU Regulations. This will save companies millions of pounds.
3. Support for UK steel in major construction projects: we have published and further updated procurement guidance for government departments to allow aspects such as social impacts, job impacts and staff safety to be taken into account when procuring steel for major projects. This will give UK steel back its competitive edge.
4. EU and international level action on unfair trading practices: the UK voted in favour of certain steel anti-dumping measures, such as recently on the import of Chinese wire rod and steel tubing products. The UK also lobbied successfully for an investigation into cheap imports of reinforcing steel bars. The Prime Minister raised the problems of Chinese overproduction directly with President Xi on his visit to the UK.
5. Business Rates: the sector’s concerns about the impact of business rates on competitiveness are taken into account in the Government’s Business Rates Review. This will conclude by Budget 2016. We have also already reduced taxes and increased investment allowances.
The Government recognises that this is also a difficult time for the individuals and communities affected by the current crisis. Our immediate focus is to help those who have lost their jobs back into work as quickly as possible.
In Redcar, Amanda Skelton, Chief Executive of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, chairs the taskforce to examine what steps need to be taken to support the local economy and co-ordinate delivery of this support. The Government and taskforce has so far agreed significant programmes including:
• a hardship fund for individuals facing short-term financial challenges (£2.4 million),
• retraining through Jobcentre Plus and local Further Education colleges (£5.6 million),
• funding for former SSI apprentices to complete their apprenticeships (£1.7 million),
• business advice and start-up grants (0.75 million), and,
• a range of support for companies in the SSI supplies chain, to help them diversify, grow and create jobs within the local economy (£32.5 million).
In addition, Lord Heseltine has been appointed to lead the Tees Valley Inward Investment Initiative. This will be looking to advance specific investment projects, conduct a wider analysis on unlocking growth in the area and help the new Combined Authority make the most of its new devolved powers.
Whilst this crisis continues there is more that can and must be done. The Government will therefore continue to do all it can in the coming weeks and months to ensure a healthy and sustainable future for UK steel.
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Other parliamentary business
MPs debate the UK steel industry
On Monday 29 February, the House of Commons debated the UK steel industry.
You can watch the debate here: http://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/bd58e181-99d8-462e-b335-de8c85e0c5e4?in=18:57:51
You can read the transcript here: https://hansard.digiminster.com/commons/2016-02-29/debates/16022928000001/UKSteelIndustry
The subject for this debate was chosen by the Official Opposition (Labour). There are 20 days allocated each year for non-government (opposition) parties to choose the subjects of debate in the House of Commons.
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Government changes its response to this petition
The Government has changed its response to this petition.
The change is in the summary quote. The new version reads:
“This is a difficult time for Teesside. We are helping those who lost their jobs back into work. And we are ensuring a viable future for the UK steel industry by acting on cheap imports, energy costs, procurement, and emissions regulations.”
The original response said:
“The Government is determined to ensure a viable future for Teesside Steelmaking and the UK steel industry by acting on cheap imports, energy costs, procurement, and emissions regulations.”
This change was made on 24 March 2016.