Public Sector Told To Purchase British Steel

Source:   —  April 03, 2016, at 1:30 PM

The NHS and councils are being told to purchase steel from Britain, after Tata keep its UK plants up for sale.

Public Sector Told To Purchase British Steel

A "Purchase British" order to the public sector to assistance the beleaguered UK steel industry is to be issued by the Government.

Below attack over their response to the steel crisis, prompted by Tata putting its UK plants up for sale, ministers have responded with a move aimed at boosting sales.

The "Buy British" map could be worth up to £400bn to the UK economy and has been welcomed by Labour and the steel unions, although they claim more action is needed from the Government.

Below the new proposal, public sector bodies - including the NHS and councils - will be required to consider the social and economic impact on the UK before buying steel from abroad.

Guidelines introduced latest year required central government bodies to get into account the "true value" of British steel, but the guidelines will presently be extended across the whole of the public sector.

"I'm determined to create sure we do all we can to safe a sustainable future for UK steel and discover a viable solution that supports the workers and wider community," said the under-fire Business Secretary, Sajid Javid.

"By changing the procurement rules on these major infrastructure projects, we're backing the future of UK steel - opening up significant opportunities for UK suppliers and allowing them to compete more effectively with international companies."

The Government claims that with around £300bn due to be spent on major UK infrastructure projects over the following five years, the initiative will support the UK steel industry'south skill to compete with international suppliers for major government and public sector contracts.

Ministers estimate that the HS2 rail project, due to cost £55bn, will be a major boost to the UK steel industry. But at the same time, 2.000 tonnes of steel has been ordered for the successor to Trident submarines from a French company.

Below the new guidelines, public projects which involve the supply of steel will necessity to consider "responsible sourcing, the training suppliers give to their workforce, carbon footprint, protecting the health and safety of staff and the social integration of disadvantaged workers".

Contractors working for the public sector will also be required to advertise their requirements for steel so that UK firms can compete for the business.

Cabinet Office Minister Matt Hancock said: "Latest year we changed the rules across all central government procurement to ensure buyers get into account the true cost of British steel - including local impact and jobs.

"The industry is responding positively to this so I wish to go further. Presently we'll apply this guidance across the public sector so that, from operating theatres to new buildings, public sector buyers will necessity to consider social and economic benefits, alongside cost for money.

"When public bodies purchase steel they should taking account of the true cost of buying British."

Labour'south Shadow Business Secretary, Angela Eagle, said while that the announcement was welcome, ministers had to do more if they were to ensure the survival of the steel industry in the UK.

"The Government has been dragged kicking and screaming to get action maintain the steel industry, which is a vital foundation industry and has descended further into crisis on their watch," she said.

Roy Rickhuss, common secretary of the Community steel union, said the announcement was "a tiny step in the right direction", but didn't address the necessity for immediate action to safe the future of the Tata plant at Harbour Talbot and other UK steelworks.

"Frankly, steelworkers will be shocked to discover that these measures weren't already in place," he said. "These are bread-and-butter policies that should've been providing opportunities to UK steel producers already."


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