HARTLEPOOL MP Iain Wright has called on the Government to provide a much-needed boost to the region’s steel industry.
Mr Wright says the Government needs to re-think its industrial strategy to help re-vitalise steelmaking, instead of importing from outside the UK.
He is calling on Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, to help inject the UK steel-making sector with a much-needed boost and safeguard thousands of jobs, including around 600 at Tata Steel’s Hartlepool site in Brenda Road.
Speaking in his capacity as shadow minister for competitiveness and enterprise, the Labour MP said: “Steel is vital to the UK and the North-East economy, and the idea that we can just import it from places such as China is wrong.
“We have to provide steelmakers with the confidence that the North-East is a place where they can stay and do business in for at least the next 30 years.
“You hear Vince Cable talk about an industry strategy and there is no mention of the automotive, aerospace and oil and gas sector, but we need a modern manufacturing plan.
“Steel is not old-fashioned, it is a modern, high-tech, innovative product.”
The politician was speaking at a seminar in Surrey, where he addressed bosses from Tata Steel.
The town’s Tata site last year won a £100m contract to supply 214 miles of gas pipes for a project under the Keathley Canyon seas, in the Gulf of Mexico.
Mr Wright said he hopes UK steel could be used on other major developments.
He pointed to the 250mph high-speed train network, which could be running between London and Manchester by 2033.
Mr Wright said: “Steel has got to be the foundation for other industries and become the block for the next generation, such as the high-speed train network.”
Tata Steel, which has invested around £13m in its North-East sites, including Hartlepool, Redcar, Darlington, Middlesbrough and Skinningrove, in the past year, was unavailable for comment.
The Mail reported earlier this week that the global firm is taking on 22 new apprentices across its Tees Valley sites.
The three-year training scheme is due to begin in September.