At Monday’s full council meeting, Labour and Co-operative Councillors Minesh Parekh and Ben Miskell proposed a motion about the need for ‘long-term strategic investment in green steel production’.
The motion noted that other Governments around the world have committed to securing their domestic steel industries, but that the Tory Government had ‘weaken[ed] safeguards that protect our steelmakers from being undercut by cheap steel imports.’
Kemi Badenoch, the Conservative Business Secretary, recently signalled her indifference to the domestic steel industry, claiming “nothing is ever a given” when asked about its survival.
Councillor Parekh, Labour Councillor for Crookes and Crosspool, who proposed the motion, said:
“Sheffield was built on our city’s steel industry and, with the dire need for steel in any post-carbon future, Government investment to support our just transition to green steel is urgently needed.
“Unfortunately, there’s a real lack of vision and commitment to industry from this Tory Government, as highlighted by Kemi Badenoch’s recent comments.
“Sheffield’s Labour Councillors will fight nevertheless to secure a vibrant future for our steel industry, which is why it’s so great to see Forgemasters’ recent moves to use hydrogen instead of fossil fuels.”
Sheffield Forgemasters have recently put in an application for funding for an Industrial Hydrogen Accelerator at the Blackburn Meadows site in Tinsley. This project has received the backing of Labour MP Clive Betts, who has written to the Government to offer his support for the bid.
Councillor Ben Miskell, Labour Councillor for Park and Arbourthorne ward, who seconded the motion, said:
“As the steel city, Sheffield has an opportunity to set the course for the future of British steel.
“With the right strategy and ambition, we know there is a bright green future awaiting our steel sector—and we’re going to fight for the investment from Government to take us there.”
Bill Adams, the Regional Secretary for the TUC in Yorkshire and the Humber, signalled his support for the Labour motion:
“The Yorkshire and Humber regional TUC fully support Sheffield City Council’s intention to support worker led decarbonisation work across the city region. Supporting the climate commission in Yorkshire is crucial to help industry and business to plan and implement for net zero, in particular industries such as Steel, advanced manufacturing and transport, while working closely with trade unions to ensure that no worker is left behind, that well paid skilled jobs are available to all, and the transition to a new sustainable economy benefits all the people across Sheffield and the wider area”.
Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary, Jonathan Reynolds MP, recently set out the national party’s plans for domestic steel production. Speaking to LabourList, he said:
“Steel is the bedrock of many communities across the UK. It is the foundation our manufacturing sector is built on, crucial to any net-zero ambition and the beating heart of our sovereign capability.
“That is why Labour will partner with industry to invest in the new technologies needed to keep well-paid steel jobs in the UK for decades to come.”
- The full motion as proposed can be found here.