The crisis facing steel in the UK is a problem that Labour is also tackling at a Europe-wide level. Sheffield based Linda McAvan – one of Labour’s MEPs for Yorkshire & the Humber - explains:
‘Labour MEPs are working closely with the Labour leadership, the Steel group of MPs and Unions to get action to defend jobs in our highly productive and skilled steel industry. A key problem for UK steel and other European producers is state subsidised Chinese steel being dumped on our market.
With 900 job losses at Tata Scunthorpe and more job losses threatened in South Yorkshire, urgent action is needed. While the first line of responsibility for British steel lies with the British government, joint working with other European steel producing countries is crucial if we are to be able to exert pressure on the Chinese to stop dumping subsidised steel on our market. The EU already imposes 20-25% tariffs on some steel products entering the EU, but we need to do more, and more quickly. But proposals to speed up EU anti-dumping rules are being blocked by Ministers - led by the UK.
Labour MEPs are now working with their counterparts to get Ministers to revisit their decision. We are also pressing our government to do more to support the steel industry, as other EU countries do: through R&D investment, skills training and energy efficiency measures- all allowed under EU law (Forgemasters in Sheffield was awarded a loan by the Gordon Brown government, but this was blocked by the ConDem government). The government could also apply for EU funds to help retrain those facing job losses in retraining and business set up, but is saying no for purely ideological reasons.’
Linda McAvan MEP produces a regular newsletter on issues that affect us locally. You can sign up for her mailings using the contact details below.