Labour unveils blueprint to revive steel industry and save 80,000 jobs

More than 80,000 jobs would be saved and 3,300 posts created under Labour ’s plans to pump new life into the steel industry.

The party will today unveil a blueprint to revive the fragile sector, which its says is vital to the UK’s national interest.

Shadow Business Secretary, Rebecca Long-Bailey MP said: “Unlike the Conservatives, Labour will not sit idly by while the steel industry comes under siege.”

Labour’s manifesto to save the industry includes a £1 billion injection into boosting steel recycling by creating new plants in Workington, Cumbria; Redcar, Teesside; and Corby, Northants.

The move will create 3,300 jobs and help curb the amount of scrap steel the UK sends abroad.

The country scraps 10 million tonnes of steel a year, with 90% of it exported – denying British steelworkers employment and creating a bigger carbon footprint by sending the waste metal overseas.

Labour also vowed to slash electricity prices for the industry.

Initiatives to cut greenhouse gas emissions by lifting costs for energy-intensive industries such as steel have piled extra pressure on the sector.

The UK steel industry is under threat

Jeremy Corbyn ’s party also pledged to increase the amount of work the Government generates for UK mills.

Ms Long-Bailey added: “Just like Thatcher in the 1980s, the Tories have presided over plant closures and job losses during their time in office, devastating whole communities.

“A thriving domestic steel industry is vital to powering our Green Industrial Revolution and investment in infrastructure such as rail.

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“Labour will implement a comprehensive strategy for UK steel, taking action on the areas we know are holding back the industry to ensure it can weather any storm.”

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The announcement came less than a fortnight after the industry suffered a fresh hammer blow as Tata Steel axed 1,000 jobs from its UK operations.

That bombshell came amid renewed turbulence for the sector.

Campaigners had been celebrating last month(NOV) after a buyer was found for British Steel, saving 20,000 jobs.

The firm was plunged into receivership earlier this year.

The Mirror has been campaigning to Save Our Steel since the industry was battered by Chinese dumping on world markets in 2015.

Save Our Steel

Thousands of jobs were lost as firms grappled with cheap competition and sky-high energy costs.

The Mirror has highlighted how Royal Navy warships, British trains and UK rails have all been built using imported steel – boosting foreign rivals who undercut competitors on our shores.

Just 43% of steel bought by the public sector is produced in the UK.

But 80,000 jobs in the industry and supply chain rely on the sector.

UK Steel director-general Gareth Stace said: “UK Steel welcomes today’s publication of Labour’s steel strategy.

“UK and global demand for steel continue to grow, and the pledges set out today would go a significant way in ensuring that the UK steel sector could take advantage of this opportunity and ensure a sustainable future for steelmakers, the UK’s 32,000 steelworkers and their families, as well as the manufacturing and construction supply chains that rely upon them.

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“The future of the sector relies upon this kind of strategic approach, sitting at the heart of an enhanced industrial strategy.”

Roy Rickhuss

Community steelworkers’ union general secretary Roy Rickhuss said: “We welcome the Labour Party’s announcement on their plans to revitalise the steel industry.

“Their plans are exactly what we, alongside the industry, have been calling for for many years.

“We are pleased that, following our conversations with the party, these vital measures now form part of Labour’s plans for government.

“For the steel industry in the UK to have a viable and prosperous future, it is imperative we have a level playing field with our European counterparts, and that it becomes commonplace for UK-produced steel to be used in infrastructure projects across this country.

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“The steel industry in the UK should be central to all parties’ plans for government.

“This country’s manufacturing sector, as well as tens of thousands of jobs, are reliant on the success of the steel industry, and it’s time that the strategic importance of our industry was recognised.

“If implemented, the Labour Party’s plans for the steel industry would create the conditions necessary for our industry to thrive.”



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