Posted: 17 December, 2015 at 10:55 am

Help for steel industry, but not early enough says MP

MP John Healey has welcomed news that the steel industry will get help with energy costs sooner than the government had planned.

The government has announced today that UK Energy Intensive Industries – including steel – have been granted state aid compensation for the cost of renewables.

Mr Healey has been pressing ministers to bring in the relief sooner than their planned date of April 2016.

As far back as April 2014, he questioned the then business minister Michael Fallon in the Commons, saying two years was too long for the steel industry to wait for the vital help.

He said: “I’ve repeatedly called on the government to implement immediately – not next year – the energy intensive compensation package, and this was one of the five demands to come out of the national steel summit held in Rotherham in October.

“I welcome this announcement but with our steel industry now on its knees – and hundreds of jobs being lost in Rotherham – I wish it had come sooner.”

Tata Steel has welcomed the news. The company recently confirmed 720 job losses in Speciality Steels, including 685 in Rotherham and Stocksbridge.

Tata’s European CEO Karl Kohler said in a recent letter to Mr Healey that higher electricity costs in the UK had been “a significant factor in the assessment of the Rotherham Bar business.”