Tom yesterday asked whether Theresa May had raised issues relating to the steel industry with Chinese representatives at the G20.
The dumping of cheap Chinese-made steel in the UK has been blamed for undercutting British-made steel and causing the crisis which led to the closure of the Redcar steelworks, as well as difficulties at the Tata steel plant in Port Talbot. There remains considerable uncertainty about the government’s proposed trading relationship with China.
Mr Blenkinsop asked Theresa May to confirm whether she had raised the dumping issue in bilateral meetings with the Chinese at the G20 summit. He urged the PM to defend the UK steel industry with real action to stop the flood of cheap Chinese steel.
Mrs May denied that the government had taken no action in respect of the steel industry, highlighting steps to tackle energy costs and emission regulations. The Prime Minister did not respond specifically to Tom Blenkinsop’s question on whether she raised the dumping of cheap steel with the Chinese representatives, nor did she offer any new action to defend UK steel businesses.
Our steel industry is still in crisis. The government cannot sit back and think, ‘well, we’ve done enough’ – they haven’t. The dumping of Chinese steel still poses a real threat to thousands of jobs from Port Talbot to Hartlepool. The PM should not try to downplay the issue.
I welcome the government’s emphasis on developing an industrial strategy to think through the long term future for the steel industry in the UK. But there are further short term actions that need to be taken now, including on the dumping issue, for there to be a long term future for the industry.
You can see Tom’s question and the Prime Minister’s answer here.