High energy costs have ‘massive impact on UK steel industry’

High energy costs in the UK have a “massive impact” on the nation’s steel industry. That’s according to Gareth Stace, Director of trade association UK Steel, who spoke to ELN […]

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High energy costs in the UK have a “massive impact” on the nation’s steel industry.

That’s according to Gareth Stace, Director of trade association UK Steel, who spoke to ELN following yesterday’s announcement to cut jobs at Tata Steel.

He said the UK “probably pays double for energy compared to what they do in France and Germany”.

Mr Stace added because it is an energy intensive sector, if a deal is won or lost on £5 a tonne of steel then “those high energy costs are going to have a massive impact on your business and on your ability to compete”.

He went on to say the UK is paying “a significant amount in policy costs” in comparison to German competitors.

Mr Stace told ELN: “Government is very much aware of this – we’ve been telling them for years this is the problem. It’s only taken until now for government to actually think ‘yes, we actually do need to do something about this and address this problem’.”

He added it is also “crucial” for the government to tackle the “tsunami of Chinese imports”. Mr Stace suggests it must also “deliver on a level playing field on energy costs, on business rate costs and also, really crucially, tackling this flood of Chinese imports”.

He added because the price of steel is set and traded globally, “if you’ve got everything against you, which UK Steel has had at the moment, then you’re not going to be able to compete and there’s only so long you’ll be able to carry on trading, which is why government can act and must act now”.

Earlier this year Tata Steel announced it will cut up to 720 jobs, mainly at its steel-bar making plant in Rotherham, South Yorkshire.