UK Steel Calls for Use of Made in Britain Steel in Infra Projects
The Guardian reported that UK’s industry trade body UK Steel saying that, the British government talks a good game on supporting steelmakers but should
The Guardian reported that UK’s industry trade body UK Steel saying that, the British government talks a good game on supporting steelmakers but should set targets for the use of British steel in big infrastructure projects, urged the government to respond by ensuring that as much as possible of the 5 million tonnes of steel needed for infrastructure projects including HS2, offshore windfarms and the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant comes from the UK.
UK Steel Director General Mr Gareth Stace said “Government ministers have consistently talked a good game on public procurement of steel, but to date this hasn’t translated into much practical action or solid commitments. Procurement decisions are almost entirely outsourced to private contractors, he said, with no direction on the government’s objectives, such as benefit to the UK steel sector and wider economy. Choices are made simply on the basis of lowest upfront cost, with little or no transparency. Often where UK steel has been used it has been through chance rather than design.”
Government disclosures show that much of the steel for taxpayer-funded initiatives is being supplied by plants overseas. Among the projects not using UK steel is the construction by BAE Systems of Dreadnought-class submarines, which will carry the Trident nuclear deterrent from the 2030s. Because the steel needed is not made in the UK, BAE has had to go abroad for producers.
While some speciality steel grades aren’t made by UK producers, the government has recently launched a taskforce to look at ways of breathing new life into the ailing sector, including by ensuring procurement boosts domestic firms. Government data for 2018-19 only show the origin of about 20% of steel used in public projects. The government said it is working to improve this and said the amount of steel procured from UK producers has doubled.