Whether it’s for marine structure construction or bridge repairs, councils and hospitals in the UK are being called on by the government to make sure they use British steel wherever possible in a bid to save the stricken industry.
A new change is coming in that will require public organisations to look into using British steel before they consider importing from overseas, the Daily Telegraph reports.
Back in November, the government announced that it would start taking into account the quality of training for the workforce, as well as steel’s carbon footprint to help steel-makers in the UK become more competitive in the face of cheaper imports. Now, this has been extended to encompass local government as well as the NHS, going against current rules for public sector procurement that state that the most cost-effective bidder must be selected when starting new infrastructure projects.
However, campaigners are now saying that it could well be too little, too late for the government to intervene. Labour’s shadow business secretary Angela Eagle said: “The government has been dragged kicking and screaming to take action to support the steel industry, which is a vital foundation industry and has descended further into crisis on their watch.”
Last month, Finnish company Outokumpu announced that it is now looking into shutting down its UK operations, with a fresh round of redundancies revealed for its Sheffield-based site.
And in the last year alone, more than 5,000 jobs have been lost in the UK’s steel sector, with Tata also making redundancies and SSI’s plant in Redcar going into administration. It would certainly seem as though government intervention is necessary – and here’s hoping it hasn’t come too late.