The steel and oil and gas industries have been classed as "low priority" in Brexit negotiations

 
Courtney Goldsmith
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The oil and gas sector has been classed as a low priority
The oil and gas sector has been classed as a low priority (Source: Getty)

A leaked government document reveals securing the future of the steel and oil and gas sectors will be a low priority during Brexit negotiations.

Officials have divided British industries into high, medium or low priority categories according to a document which was obtained by The Times.

The government plans to focus most of its efforts on higher ranking sectors including pharmaceuticals, carmaking, textiles and clothing, aerospace and air transport industries, while industries like steel, construction, oil and gas, telecoms, environmental services, water and medical will remain lower priorities.

The document was reportedly circulated in November, but a government spokesperson declined to comment to The Times. However, a source said the list does not reflect the government's view of the importance of the sector but rather the level of work needed to assist them through the Brexit process.

The Scottish National Party has "condemned" the government for categorising the oil and gas industry as low priority. SNP energy spokesperson and MP Callum McCaig said, "To give the oil and gas sector a low priority is a real betrayal."

Read more: Second Scottish independence referendum could slash North Sea oil output

"There is no need to prioritise some industries over others - last year the CBI produced a major report on the Brexit challenges facing several sectors which avoided any prioritisation of one over another," McCaig said.

In December, a study by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said the government must take care not to sacrifice some sectors for the sake of scoring a good Brexit deal for others.

The steel industry's main challenge, according to the document, is not having enough market access for the industry to continue to flourish due to low cost dumping from China, which is not essentially an EU issue.

However, it says issues like Trade Defence Instruments need to be negotiated at a European-wide level.

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