UK steel crisis: Industry leaders to be grilled by MPs after Tata Steel and SSI closures

Billy Bambrough
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Anna Soubry, minister for small business, industry and enterprise, will also address the committee (Source: Getty)

The extent of the crisis that has engulfed Britain’s steel industry will be laid bare tomorrow when business ministers and industry figures are questioned by a committee of MPs.

The Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) select committee hearing, set for tomorrow afternoon, will address the problems of cheap steel from China, rising energy costs, and a strong pound.

“The UK’s steel industry has been dealt a series of major blows in recent weeks and months,” said Iain Wright MP, chair of the BIS committee.

The government and Tata Steel have agreed to spend up to £9m to help support steel workers.

Tata has said it will contribute £3m, with £6m coming from the government. This is in addition to statutory redundancy obligations that the company will meet.

“Although any support for steel communities is to be welcomed, there is still a consultation process to go through,” said Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of union Community, who will attend the com­mittee meeting tomorrow.

The committee will also hear from Anna Soubry MP, minister for small business, industry and enterprise.

Over 4,000 industry jobs have been lost this year, most recently due to cuts from Tata Steel, which axed 1,200 last week. Thai firm SSI cut 1,700 the week before at its plant in Redcar, on Teesside.

Despite the government pledging to support the industry, business secretary Sajid Javid admitted “there are limits to what we can do for the steel industry”.

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