Dearne MP urges help for UK steel industry

John Healey, MP
John Healey, MP
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A South Yorkshire MP is pushing for the Government to bring in energy relief in haste, to help companies like Tata Steel.

Wentworth and Dearne MP John Healey, a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Steel Group, grilled business minister Michael Fallon in the House of Commons.

Mr Healey said: “The Secretary of State will know that almost alone among advanced economies, the UK economy is still smaller, and our industry is still producing less, than before the global financial crisis.

“Does he agree that strategic industries such as steelmaking are essential for growth that is more manufacturing-based and investment and export-led?”

He continued: “While the Budget announcement of relief on the rising costs of the renewables obligation is very welcome, two years is too long to wait. Will he seriously consider the case that Tata and other energy-intensive users are making to bring this in sooner?”

Karl Köhler, CEO and Managing Director of Tata Steel in Europe, told the APPG in a letter that while he thanked the Government for action “timing remains an issue and the near term pressure on our business is still very real - within this context step change relief in 2016/17 can seem distant.”

The Government announced in last month’s Budget that energy intensive manufacturers would be entitled to compensation to protect them from rising costs of the Renewable Obligation and Feed-In Tariffs – but not for two years.

Responding to Mr Healey, Mr Fallon blamed the time it takes for schemes to receive clearance from Brussels.

Tata employs about 2,000 people in South Yorkshire.