Steel companies in the UK pay nearly twice as much for electricity than their counterparts on the continent, despite the industry facing unprecedented challenges in Britain.
British steelmakers face electricity prices 80 per cent higher than their direct competitors in France, and 61 per cent higher than in Germany, according to research.
Steel production is a highly energy-intensive process, to the point where some steelmakers pay more for energy than for people.
Despite this, the disparity with German power prices will cost the sector about £47m this year, according to trade group UK Steel.
It comes more than two years after the Tory party committed in its 2017 election manifesto to deliver the lowest energy costs in Europe.
Earlier this year, the second-largest steelmaker in the country, British Steel, went into administration, forcing the government to step in to find a new owner for the firm.
Director general at UK Steel Gareth Stace said energy was “systemically and persistently” higher for British firms.
“It damages our competitiveness that we are consistently forced to pay significantly more.
“This is not the time to be cautious, but the time to be bold.
“The government must act now to provide that level playing field the sector desperately needs.”
A spokesperson for the government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: “Energy intensive industries already receive significant compensation and exemptions for high energy costs and the steel industry alone has received £312m to make energy costs more competitive in recent years, including over £53m during 2018.
“We will keep on going further including through our £315m Industrial Energy Transformation Fund and £250m Clean Steel Fund, to help support the steel sector in its transition to cleaner manufacturing processes.”
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