The steel industry has called for UK steel suppliers to be the first choice for procurement of the metal by the government and private businesses alike.
It is one of the key issues raised in the UK Steel Manifesto, published since the EU Referendum result was announced, and looking ahead to the future of the British steel sector as the so-called Brexit process gets underway.
UK Steel, the association that represents the interests of those working in the industry, concedes that the Leave vote was disappointing for the sector – but stresses that there is still a bright future ahead, if the industry is given the correct conditions to thrive.
“It is now more important than ever for the government to step up to the mark and put this paper’s recommendations into place so we have every chance to secure the future of British steelmaking and ensure that our essential supply chains, such as the automotive and defence sectors, can always look to UK producers to meet their demand,” the manifesto states.
It adds: “The UK steel industry can legitimately claim a positive future.”
The key proposals include increased procurement from UK steel suppliers by default for both the government and private businesses, as well as reducing the industry’s operating costs due to blanket measures like business rates and electricity tariffs.
Energy costs are high on the agenda, particularly due to penalties for energy-intensive businesses under measures that attempt to curtail climate change.
However, this could also be set to change, following the news that under new prime minister Theresa May, the Department of Energy and Climate Change is to close.
It will be rolled into the newly formed Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – a name that suggests there could be more joined-up thinking ahead for how energy policy affects Britain’s industrial sectors.