The government is under growing pressure to bring forward a £250m green fund for the UK’s steel industry to help rescue the ailing industry.
The Clean Steel Fund was originally announced in 2019 by the government in a bid to reduce carbon emissions in the sector through new business invesment.
However, the fund is not due to go live until 2023.
Shadow business secretary Ed Miliband told the Financial Times that the industry desperately needed the funding now, with two of the UK’s largest steelmakers facing financial difficulties.
The country’s largest steelmaker Tata Steel has unsuccesfully lobbied the government for a £500m bailout in the past year as its revenues plummeted during the pandemic.
Sanjeev Gupta’s Liberty Steel, the UK’s third largest steelmaker, has also requested hundreds of millions of pounds from the government, after almost becoming insolvent in recent weeks.
Liberty’s main financial backer Greensill Capital went bust earlier this month, pushing Liberty close to the brink.
Miliband said the industry needed money from the Clean Steel Fund immediately.
“The government has no real plan for steel,” he said.
“They are failing in terms of both the level of ambition and urgency to support our steelmakers.”
A spokesperson from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Beis) said: “The Clean Steel Fund will begin in 2023 following requests from representatives of the steel industry, giving them time to fully develop plans and make the most of the funding available.”