Commenting on the Queen’s Speech, Labour Member of Parliament for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland and Chair of the all-party parliamentary group on steel, Tom Blenkinsop said:
“The government had the opportunity to reassure the steel industry, and tens of thousands of steel workers, that they had learned lessons from the closure of SSI at Redcar and would not stand by and let a key national industry fail, but there was nothing in the Queen’s Speech to help the industry.
“The Steel industry cannot afford the time for the government to take their eye off the ball, this Queen’s Speech was the perfect opportunity to address the five key asks that the steel industry raised with the government last year.
“The Government could easily have introduced legislation that would reform business rates and benefit both the North and the Steel industry, the closure of SSI has left a £10 million hole in local business rates and recent changes mean that this shortfall is no longer shared across the country.
“In Redcar and Cleveland we have seen the Conservative, Liberal democrat, UKIP and Independent councillors too afraid to take power in case they are held responsible for the draconian cuts made by this out of touch government, business rate reform would have gone some way to levelling the playing field between the North and the South and could have helped reduce cuts to already stretched local council budgets.”