This month’sBudget statement gives the UK government “an important opportunity”to help steel suppliers and their counterparts throughout the manufacturingindustries, according to EEF.

Themanufacturers’ organisation, which acts as parent group to the trade body UKSteel, concedes that activity has been disappointing in recent months.

However,chief economist Lee Hopley points out that part of this is due to “one-offfactors” like poor weather, which helped to suppress order levels in theworst of the winter months.

But as thewinter turns to spring, there is the prospect of a Budget statement on thecards – and that brings with it the potential for steel suppliers, andmanufacturing firms in general, to be given a boost.

Ms Hopleysays: “This month’s Budget is an important opportunity for the governmentto build on its Autumn Statement announcements by continuing to focus on whatmatters most for growth and investment.”

The fullBudget statement is due to be delivered by chancellor of the Exchequer GeorgeOsborne in Parliament on March 20th, with industry responses likely to followsoon after.