Budget 2021: Steel sector bemoans “missed opportunity” as energy costs continue to rise
The Budget was a “missed opportunity” for the country’s steel sector, argues the UK Steel and Community Union.
The organisation has criticised Chancellor Rishi Sunak, believing he has left the steel sector “high and dry” by the lack of action on electricity prices and its failure to set out a clear plan for decarbonising UK steel production.
Without financial support, they warned that the government’s industrial decarbonisation strategy would be “little more than words on a page”.
The current energy crisis has seen UK steelmakers pay an additional £38m for electricity compared to German produced steel over the last two months.
Meanwhile, the Budget’s spending review also allocated no funding towards the Clean Steel Fund, a key resource in the government’s plan to decarbonise the steel sector.
A spokesperson said: “The steel sector stands ready to play our part in modernising and decarbonising our industry and the wider economy, but we cannot do this without serious commitments from the Government, commitments that countless governments elsewhere are making. Sadly, this Spending Review represents a triumph of complacency on decarbonisation and threatens the very highly skilled, highly paid jobs that the government claims to champion.”
Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has previously pushed for government bailouts and emergency loans to production firms struggling amid soaring energy costs.