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23rd October 2017 - ‘Put British steel first’ says Islwyn MP

‘Put British steel first’ says Islwyn MP‘Put British steel first’ was the message from Islwyn MP, Chris Evans in the House of Commons. At Defence Questions Mr Evans urged the government to use UK steel as boost to the industry as part of the National Shipbuilding Strategy. 

The National Shipbuilding Strategy, published in September, aims to boost the Royal Navy through the construction of a number of new ships, including £250 million on a number of Type 31e frigates. 

Despite calls for British steel to be used, the strategy does not make any guarantees that UK steel will be given preference over steel from other countries. The lack of a guarantee comes despite the UK steel demand crisis early last year where thousands of steel workers’ jobs were lost and threatened, including in South Wales.

Mr Evans said: ‘Despite the challenges the UK steel industry is facing, too many of the offshore patrol vessels used by the Royal Navy are being built with foreign steel. 

‘Can the Minister give an assurance that as part of the National Shipbuilding Strategy that British steel will be put first when building new vessels?’

The Minister of State, Harriet Baldwin MP, responded to the question saying: ‘I am delighted to let the House know that on the first of the Industry Days we held for the Type 31e Frigate at the end of September, UK steel were represented.

‘To ensure that they get involved at that very early stage ensures gives UK steel the very best chance at winning these competitions.’

Speaking after Defence Questions, Mr Evans said: ‘Given the dire situation within the UK steel industry, it is verging on scandal that the Government is unable to give any guarantees that Royal Navy ships will be made of British steel.

‘Simply inviting UK steel industry representatives to ‘Industry Days’ for a ‘chance’ at winning contracts is not good enough. The Government must show confidence in our Steel industry by making a commitment to put British steel, and British jobs, first.’

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