John McDonnell writes:
The steel crisis exposes the Tories as out of touch and incompetent. Forty thousand workers and their families face the loss of their livelihoods.
As we saw under in the 1980s, closures like this can tear apart entire communities. Even some Tory MPs share Labour’s call for emergency measures like nationalisation not to be ruled out.
Yet refuses to recall Parliament for an emergency debate. Some have tried to claim measures to combat climate change are to blame.
However, less than two per cent of steel production costs are due to climate measures.
In reality, British steel is in crisis because of the dumping of cheap steel by China and because we have a government that will not take the action necessary.
Other EU countries like Germany and Italy have acted to protect their steel industries. The barrier to action isn’t in Brussels.
It’s in Westminster, where the Government has spent three years blocking EU action. One EU official even claimed the Tories were blocking action on dumping as a “thank you” to China.
This has done us no good. China has slapped a 46 per cent tariff on British steel.
has different priorities. This is our four-point Action Plan to save British steel:
- Stabilise the industry and protect steelworkers by allowing time for a buyer to be found but being prepared to nationalise plants threatened with closure.
- Fast-track key investment projects like high-speed rail in the North, and build them with British steel.
- Create a level playing field. The Tories must stop blocking EU initiatives to protect steel but also look at business rates and energy prices.
- Restructure the industry so it has a future, in partnership with workers, management and major customers working alongside government.
This isn’t just about the jobs and communities now being threatened. It’s about how we start to make an economy that works for the good of all.
Doing nothing is not an answer.