The struggles the UK steel industry faces today are not known by everyone, but they are comprehensive. In recent history, the steel industry has been impacted by the dumping of cheap steel from foreign countries, and more recently as a result of our leaving the European Union and the coronavirus crisis. Some of the major challenges the sector continues to face are a result of government failure to support the sector, in areas like uncompetitive energy costs and public procurement policy.
Industry experts believe there is much that can be done to support the sector, secure the future of jobs and livelihoods in communities across the country, protect local economies, stabilize industrial capacities and build supply chains, and ultimately support the UK’s efforts to secure the green industries of the future.
The importance of the UK steel industry
Steel has been a foundation industry for the UK for many years. It also serves a wide range of other key industries such as the automotive sector, and without it, the efficiency and affordability of many of the UK’s infrastructure, manufacturing, engineering and construction efforts would be diminished.
The steel sector also plays a crucial role in how the UK transforms itself into a greener, more sustainable nation. In short, making sure that UK steel is produced and available in the UK for years to come will be a cornerstone of rebuilding the UK around new goals and ambitions.
The role of steel in the UK’s future
The government has several infrastructure initiatives that rely on securing quality steel. If government wants to achieve its ambitious targets, it must commit to a sustainable future for the steel industry, with Britain’s steel a foundation of the economy and source of jobs for hundreds of thousands of people across the UK.
Buying steel from elsewhere would undermine many of our ambitious goals for the future, as well as miss critical opportunities to invest in UK jobs and local economies. Furthermore, this approach will only strengthen our futures and create new opportunities for growth and prosperity within our own borders.
The UK has a proud history of steel manufacturing and the future can be just as bright with the right investment and support from the government. As we move to a greener future, steel is a practical and necessary material for building the new cars, infrastructure, and systems we need to eventually decarbonise — all without needing to source steel from far off locations where the environmental and financial cost of important steel could be extremely high.
Ultimately, failure to act now would be devastating for our steel communities, as well as forcing us to look elsewhere for this vital strategic material. So, as we look to build a greener and stronger future for everyone, the government must step up and support our industry.
How are steel unions campaigning for change?
The steel unions last year launched a campaign that aims to spread public awareness about the importance of our steel industry. Community is proud to be a strong advocate for the sector working with the other steel unions, employers, and most importantly our members to secure its future. You can sign our petition for the future of our industry here.