Speaking this morning, the MP for Aberavon Stephen Kinnock called on the government to back the British steel industry.
He stated that “levelling up” cannot be considered a credible policy without a policy for the future of the steel industry, and said that he was going to continue to press Ofgem, the energy regulator, to do more on energy prices that are harming the competitiveness of the British steel industry.
The remarks were made at the Community union metals and steel sector annual conference.
Speaking at a panel on the Steel APPG, which he took over leadership of in February, he highlighted the three areas of priority for the group – electricity prices, decarbonisation and “levelling up”. He was joined on the panel by Community General Secretary Roy Rickhuss CBE and Gareth Stace, the Director General of UK Steel.
On electricity prices, Kinnock said it was “outrageous” that electricity prices for steelworks in the U.K. were 60% higher than Germany and 80% higher than France.
He argued that Ofgem “could and should” be doing more, and the APPG would continue to press them at every opportunity.
On decarbonisation, Kinnock said that a Just Transition was essential for the industry to protect jobs and protect the environment. He stated that steel should be a driver for decarbonisation, but that the industry would need the backing of government to be so.
On “levelling up”, Kinnock pledged to continue to fight for good, highly skilled, well-paid unionised jobs in the steel industry. He said that he felt “levelling up” was still currently an empty slogan with not enough resources to back it up, and he would continue to hold the government to account so they deliver on this policy.
Going forward, Kinnock revealed that the APPG plans to take steel MPs out of Westminster and into steelworks.
They are planning a visit to Port Talbot, and will be extending the invitation to government ministers.
The APPG plans to go from strength to strength as we conclude 2021 and go into 2022, and Kinnock thanked Community union and UK Steel for their support.
If you are a member of Community and need help or advice, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0800 389 6332.