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Green Madness: Steel Industry ‘Likely To Die’, Trade Body Boss Tells MPs

Press Association

The steel industry is like a patient on an operating table and is “likely to die” without urgent help, the Government has been told.

The stark warning was given by Gareth Stace, director of trade body UK Steel during evidence to a committee of MPs.

He said that a fifth of the sector’s UK workforce had lost their job or were facing redundancy following a recent wave of cuts.

“If we were a patient on an operating table, we are bleeding very quickly. And we are likely to die on that table,” he told the Business Select committee.

Shortly after the MPs started the session, the Business Department issued a statement saying the steel industry will be able to take advantage of “special flexibilities” to comply with new EU rules on emissions.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid, who is visiting Brussels tomorrow for talks on steel, said he recognised the costs the regulations could have, so he was working with businesses to agree a “flexible” way forward that does not damage competitiveness.

Mr Stace told the select committee that the emissions directive was the easiest of five measures the industry wanted action on.

Other issues included reducing high energy costs and business rates, tackling unfair trade, and having more local content in orders.

Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of the Community trade union, said the current crisis in the industry seemed to be “out of control”.

“We don’t seem able to find a solution. We can’t say we will change a working practice, or work more flexibly. It is not enough.”

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