Last week I was concerned that the new Business Secretary said ‘nothing is ever a given’ when discussing the future of our steel sector. Today I have written to her to express my disappointment at her flippant remarks and to call on her to back Labour’s long term plan for green steel. 


Dear Kemi,

I write as I was extremely concerned by recent public comments you have made regarding the UK’s steel sector. It is simply wrong to say that ‘nothing is ever a given’ when asked about the future of a foundational industry. Steel is the bedrock of many communities across the UK. It is the foundation our manufacturing sector is built on, crucial to any net zero ambition and the beating heart of our sovereign capability.

To be so flippant about our ability to make steel here in the UK, the same steel in the Trident submarines which keep us safe, the wind turbines that will secure our energy future and support tens of thousands of jobs, is simply unacceptable. On behalf of businesses and workers in the industry, I write to ask for urgent clarity on this matter and for you to publicly commit to maintaining a domestic steel industry.

Labour will always be committed to the UK’s steel industry and we would expect that same steadfast commitment from any party governing our country. This is not to ignore the serious challenges that UK steel is currently facing as shown by recent announcements from both British Steel and Liberty Steel. It is clear that creating a competitive domestic steel sector will require a partnership between business and Government to support a transition to the green steel that market is now demanding.

Nevertheless, the response to those challenges should not be for the Government to turn its back on the sector or offer it endless sticking plaster solutions that have left the industry on the brink. Instead of finding a long-term solution, successive Conservative governments have lurched from crises and bailouts with no plan to keep UK steel internationally competitive or deliver a return on taxpayers’ investment.

Labour wants to see a domestic steel sector because it is vital to economic growth, our national security and the communities that have been built on this proud industry. That is why we will partner with industry, investing in green steel as competitor countries are doing to keep jobs in the UK for generations to come. It is also why we have committed to a contingency fund to help energy intensive industries with energy costs, ensuring they can compete in international markets.

I hope you recognise that your role, as Business Secretary, is to provide the environment and a level playing field that allows our steel sector to prosper. Do you accept that your comments risk putting potential and much needed investors off the UK, in favour of jurisdictions that will offer that commitment to a level playing field?

As such, will you now also commit to Labour’s long-term plan for steel, investing in the future alongside industry to deliver green steel. Steelworkers need a Government on their side and industry needs a partner that can provide stability not sticking plasters. Labour will always offer that to them and we now need urgent commitment that under your control, the Department for Business and Trade will do so too.

I look forward to your urgent reply.

Yours sincerely,


Jonathan Reynolds MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Business and Industrial Strategy


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