Prime Minister to meet with Scunthorpe MP to discuss steel industry trade

Prime Minister to meet with Scunthorpe MP to discuss steel industry trade.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to meet with Scunthorpe MP Holly Mumby-Croft to discuss what needs to be done to further protect the steel industry.

The sector’s All Party Parliamentary Group chair revealed the pledge as she spoke during the Opposition Day debate called amid mounting pressure on the recommendations by the Trade Remedies Authority.

In her speech via video link to the House of Commons, Mrs Mumby-Croft said: “Decisions that affect lives and livelihoods of our constituents cannot be made in this way. We now need further proactive solutions to support the steel industry. We must look at whether reform of the Trade Secretary’s powers is required to allow safeguard assessments to be conducted, in part by ministers, who have an understanding of the bigger picture, who are in a position to make a decision about the trade-offs and are accountable for their decision-making.

“The Prime Minister has agreed to meet with me, and this will be a welcome discussion. I urge the government to explore how we can make World Trade Organisation compliant changes in legislation to allow the Trade Secretary the option to take back control and consider whether it is legally possible to extend our existing safeguards.

“It is clear to me when the EU are set to keep all 19 of their steel safeguards and we are only set to keep 10, that risks putting us at a disadvantage.”

Holly Mumby-Croft

International trade minister Ranil Jayawardena warned any extension could lead to legal challenge, with the warning of “throwing the baby out with the bathwater” and losing all protection.

Strong calls were made to ensure UK steel is used in all domestic infrastructure projects, with the importance of green steel stressed and closing off carbon intensive cheap imports.

In a statement after the vote, Ms Mumby Croft said: “This is a complicated issue, which involves tricky legislation and commitments to the World Trade Organization and many colleagues have rightly pointed out that a misstep could result in setbacks and lawsuits.

“Whilst I share much of the Opposition’s sentiment they have failed to present any concrete solutions or proposals to resolve this pressing issue. I know that the Trade Secretary’s team is currently working to find a solution as we speak. I understand the need to be pragmatic in my approach – indeed, as I have mentioned last week, I will continue to work with the government on a wide range of policies to provide a better competitive environment for UK Steelworks.

“In that spirit of working with all colleagues in finding the best solution for our steelworks, I made the decision not to vote against the Opposition motion, as part of my commitment to work with all sides on behalf of our steelworks.

“I am pleased that follow my interventions today I was able to secure a meeting with the Prime Minister to raise this with him in full directly. As Scunthorpe’s representative, I know that our steelworkers will want me to try every single option and work with all sides to secure what is best for Scunthorpe.”

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