BUSINESS MONTHLY: Steel firms need help on energy

Terry Scuoler, EEF chief executive
Terry Scuoler, EEF chief executive

The head of the national manufacturers’ organisation said he was “deeply concerned” for the future of the British steel industry, in a speech in Sheffield.

Terry Scuoler, chief executive of EEF, called on Government to work with industry to create the best possible environment for competitiveness and growth.

He added: “It is imperative that our steel and other energy intensive companies receive the full and promised compensation package which we at EEF helped define with the previous Business Secretary and his team – and energy policy is revised so that arbitrary taxes such as the carbon price floor do not continue to be loaded onto British companies.

“In the coming weeks I will be meeting with Business Secretary Sajid Javid and the Chancellor George Osborne and I will make these other points on behalf of our member companies and the wider industrial sector.”

Mr Scuoler was speaking at the annual Yorkshire and Humber manufacturing dinner, at the Cutlers’ Hall in Sheffield, where he also listed several “downright nasty problems.”

“I am deeply concerned to hear of the closure of the Eggborough Power Station, and the apparent abandonment of the carbon capture and storage programme at Drax.

“I am also deeply concerned for the future of the British steel industry, significant elements of which are here in the region at Scunthorpe, Sheffield and Rotherham.

“I never wish to ever see again the industrial decline I witnessed on Clydeside in the 1970s and 1980s and we must prevent it.

“Families and communities are at stake and indeed such closures or potential closures damage our reputation as an industrial nation and threaten our strategy of rebalancing our economy in favour of manufacturing and engineering.

“This inevitably leads me really on to Industrial Strategy and Government policy.

“Over the past five years of the coalition Government our sector and the industrial wider economy benefited from a strong partnership with Government.

“I do recognise that a number of factors, economic and geo-political are out of our control.

“But they do more forcefully than ever demonstrate that industry and Government must create the best environment for competitiveness and growth.”