Responding to the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement today, Roy Rickhuss, General Secretary of the steelworkers’ union Community, said:
“We want to see the UK steel industry survive long enough to benefit from planned infrastructure spending and the apprenticeship funding announced today. However the future of the industry is at risk now.
“Crowing about the Northern Powerhouse only adds insult to injury to the thousands of our members in Redcar, Rotherham, Scunthorpe and North Lanarkshire, who are already jobless or who are facing an uncertain future.
“Yet again the Chancellor has failed to fully understand the crisis facing the steel industry. Although many of the challenges are a result of the global steel market, the fact that our steel producers are not competing on a level playing field within Europe is down to the policies of his government. Short-term measures around business rates and environmental and energy costs are essential to give the steel industry some hope and to encourage steel producers to hold their nerve and preserve skills and assets and there was nothing new from the Chancellor about this today only more promises about what the government will do tomorrow.
“But it’s not only short-term action that the industry needs. We also need a signal about the long-term future for the industry and a demonstration that the government is bold enough to take pro-active steps and do everything in its power to attract investment and build a sustainable future for steel. There was nothing to reassure us of this today.”