My thoughts on the steel industry

Theresa May recently addressed the Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) annual conference and announced an industrial strategy. Two things in particular stood out for me. The first being the U-Turn on the promise to have workers on boards of companies, and secondly the absence of any reference to the steel industry in her speech.

This coming after the Prime Minister failed to bring up the UK steel industry on her recent visit to India, is yet further evidence that the future of the steel industry seems to have fallen from the Government’s agenda.

I, alongside other local politicians, have since written to the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State raising our concerns. Issues facing the industry remain the same and in reality very little has changed for the positive. Chinese dumping remains prevalent and high energy costs are putting us at a considerable disadvantage to our competitors.

We have therefore asked for clarification as to where the steel industry fits into the PM’s pledge this week to create “conditions where winners can emerge and grow”.

I was pleased to hear on Monday that there will be major investment in the area. The Cabinet Secretary for the Economy and Infrastructure, Ken Skates, announced that there will be a new £30m manufacturing and research institute built in Deeside.

The facility has been part funded by the Welsh Government and part funded by project partners and will focus on the aerospace, automotive, nuclear and food sectors.

It will be used as a research and development hub that will allow companies to develop and improve manufacturing techniques and production processes and also increase productivity, commercialisation, innovation and skills development.

The announcement is great news for small and big local businesses alike who will all be able to utilise the state of the art facilities at the new plant. It is fantastic that there is continued investment in talent and skills in north east Wales. It really is a testament to an area that continues to thrive, despite global uncertainty.