An MP has said he is pleased with the results of last week’s steel summit.
The meeting of ministers, industry representatives and union officials was held in Rotherham last Friday in response to the recent cutting of thousands of jobs at plants across the country.
Corby and East Northants MP Tom Pursglove, who had urged the Government to set up the summit and also attended it himself, said: “I was pleased with the progress made during this meeting.
“While there are no easy solutions, I was pleased that ministers committed to establishing three working groups to immediately come together and look into the various challenges, with the following focuses: procurement, energy costs and international comparison.
“They also pledged to go away and push the EU for early-sign off of the compensation package that the Government has put in place for energy intensive industries.
“In a follow-up oral question on Tuesday, the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills announced that much of the work has already been started and the three working groups will be meeting at the end of this week.”
Tata Steel announced on Tuesday that it was to cut 1,200 jobs at its Scunthorpe steel plant, which employs 3,000 people and is one of the UK’s biggest, and in Scotland. It has also cut jobs in Rotherham this year.
Steel company SSI had earlier this summer announced that it was to close its blast furnace and coke ovens in Redcar.
The Tata plant in Corby, which employs about 500 people, has not been affected by the recent announcements.
Mr Pursglove added: “As one of very few Conservative members with a steelworks in their constituency, I have been very outspoken on this matter.
“Tata Steel is a very important employer in Corby and I am pleased to be working on a cross-party basis to try and resolve some of the problems facing the industry.
“We are particularly focusing on Chinese steel dumped on the UK market, business rates and carbon taxation, all of which are placing a real strain on the operational costs and viability of the industry.
“Just this week, I asked defence ministers what support they are giving to UK steel through their equipment procurement policy.
“I also urged the Business Secretary to act quickly to save jobs and support our steel industry – in my view in relation to EU state aid rates, we should shoot first and ask questions later.
“This week, I have also secured a date with Tata Steel to visit its site in Corby and I look forward to my visit.
“If any constituents would like to discuss this issue with me further, they can contact me on 0207 219 8043 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.