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Government promises support for British steel producers


 United Kingdom, London: After Tata Steel’s workers headed to Westminster to lobby British parliamentarians ahead of a House of Commons debate on steel industry, the government has pledged to help the struggling British steel industry compete with foreign rivals by backing measures which include lowering of energy costs and reducing business rates, reports The Guardian.

Anna Soubry, the small business, industry and enterprise minister, said she would act on five demands from the industry to hold off further job losses in a sector that has seen thousands of redundancies since September.

The five actions sought by the industry are: the implementation of an energy compensation package to bring down the cost of energy to that enjoyed by rivals; the reduction of business rates in line with those of competitor countries; more time to meet directives on emissions; more support on anti-steel dumping measures; and more support for local producers in large construction projects, although EU rules bar domestic bias in government procurement decisions.

Since Tata Steel, the owner of Britain’s largest steel plant in Scunthorpe, confirmed 1,200 job cuts in September, 5,000 jobs in the UK have been lost or put at risk - SSI Redcar steelworks has shut down, parts of Lord Swraj Paul’s Caparo Industries have gone into administration, and the Klesch Group pulled out of buying Tata’s long products division citing hostile conditions in the UK.

Source: The Guardian, Hindu Business Line