Parliament

British Steel

Published date : 08 November, 2023
May I begin by expressing my concerns on behalf of the 2,000 workers who are likely to be affected by this announcement? Also, I re-emphasise, as other contributors have, the importance of virgin steelmaking, not just in terms of security, but in meeting demand in the construction industry, where inflation is already racing ahead and our ability to build things will not be helped by being further away from the supply chain and reducing domestic capacity in steelmaking.

The Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit think-tank has said:

“Ageing blast furnaces need to be replaced and upgraded to produce greener steel…electric arc furnaces have a role in recycling steel”,

but

“failing to invest in modern hydrogen furnaces belies the government’s promises to invest for the longer term.”

Just as in the oil and gas sector, what plans do the UK Government have for a just transition for the steelmaking workforce? What support will the UK Government be giving to the development of hydrogen furnaces in the UK? What challenges will they put constructively to British Steel over these plans? Given the Government’s high-profile retreats on other climate measures, such as the date for banning the sale of internal combustion engine cars, how much faith can the industry have in any guarantees that the Government do make?

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