Campaigning by steelworkers and a debate forced by Labour has led to a last-minute Government U-turn over the removal of safeguard tariffs on cheap steel imports.

Wentworth & Dearne MP John Healey warned International Trade Secretary Liz Truss that scrapping the safeguards risked putting British steel yards out of business.

The Trade Remedies Investigations Directorate had recommended axing protections by removing several categories of steel from safeguard measures. The US and EU are keeping protections in place.

With five hours to go until the deadline on 30 June, the Government announced the five most important safeguards under threat would be extended for a further year, and that the decision-making powers of the Trade Remedies Authority would be reviewed.

John said: “This is a huge victory for our steelworkers, who have campaigned hard over the last month against the removal of these safeguards. Their efforts helped me and other MPs make the case in Parliament, force the Government to change its plans, and keep these protections in place.

“But the fight does not stop here. As part of the government’s review, I want the Trade Remedies Authority reformed to represent the views of workers and industry and consider the impact of its decisions on communities like ours.

“And second, we may have stopped the immediate threat from cheap imports, but we have to do more than that to protect the future of the British steel industry. We need a long-term plan for investment and modernisation, making the UK a world leader in low carbon steel production and putting British-made steel at the heart of every major infrastructure project in our country.”