Warning sounded by Scunthorpe MP Nic Dakin on 'extremely dark picture' for steel industry with no-deal Brexit

By Scunthorpe Telegraph | Posted: 6 Feb 2019

A warning has been sounded on the effect a no-deal Brexit could have on steelmakers and communities which are dependent on the industry.

Scunthorpe MP Nic Dakin spoke following a meeting with senior representatives of Britain's four biggest steel firms - British Steel, Tata Steel, Liberty Speciality Steel and Celsa Steel UK.

The meeting, held yesterday, was attended by MPs representing areas with steel industries.

Mr Dakin warned that the export of 2.6 million tonnes of UK-produced steel to the European Union each year would be severely disrupted by additional administration, costs and border delays, if no deal was agreed before Britain's exit from the EU.

He said trade body UK Steel, estimates four to five per cent would be added to the cost of a tonne of steel – estimated at £70 million per year for the sector, while delays and complications could also encourage many EU customers to seek alternative steel providers.

Read more: Liberty Steel UK's new CEO to address annual steel dinner

And he said no-deal could also leave steelmakers, including Scunthorpe-based British Steel, without the protection of the EU's recently introduced steel safeguards against unfairly subsidised steel from elsewhere in the world.

The British Steel works in Scunthorpe (Image: David Haber)

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Dakin said: "After such a turbulent time, UK Steel has been fighting back hard, gaining contracts with rail companies based in Belgium and Italy.

"If the Government repays those who have been working hard for our steel industry with a no-deal Brexit, thousands of steel jobs will be at risk including in my constituency. It is an extremely dark picture.

"If the Government is behind communities across northern England and Wales who are extremely dependent on steel, it is vital that they rule out a damaging no-deal Brexit.

Read more: Manufacturer's massive £8m expansion unveiled

"Ninety-seven of our current steel exports go to EU countries, or to countries that have a free-trade agreement with the EU. It will be a harrowing picture for towns like ours if we wake up on March 29 and this has disappeared. A Brexit deal which takes into account jobs has to be the priority.

"If the Tories are the party of business, which so they claim, they need to stop being reckless in these negotiations. They need to listen to the concerns of industry leaders, to Parliamentarians from across the house, and guarantee we will still have a steel industry post-Brexit."

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