UK steel suppliers have been listed among the nation’s “huge, important sectors in their own right” in a speech delivered by deputy prime minister Nick Clegg.

Speaking at the recent BIS Manufacturing Summit, he listed UK steel suppliers first in a series of “core UK suppliers”, followed by petrochemical companies and glass producers, which together he said “employ thousands of people and generate millions for our economy”.

He went on to call for the creation of a new UK Supply Chain Strategy, to capitalise on international opportunities, such as the intention of some companies to base more of their production in the UK, rather than in countries like Japan that have faced earthquakes, tsunamis and nuclear incidents in recent years.

Such a strategy should answer three questions, according to Mr Clegg: What issues do large sectors face when trying to base more operations in the UK? What are the common barriers to growth? And how can the government tackle these issues, particularly to allow major infrastructure projects to go ahead?