This morning, the Government published the Energy White Paper, initially announced as a response to the 2017 Energy Cost Review. Despite this, it does not engage with the issue of uncompetitive industrial electricity costs that are a millstone around the neck of UK steel producers, increasing the costs of decarbonisation harder and undermining our international competitiveness.
UK Steel is hugely disappointed at the continued lack of action to help British industry in the Energy White Paper and will continue to make the case to Government for action here laying the foundations for a strong and sustainable domestic steel sector in the UK.
Commenting on the Energy White Paper, UK Steel Director General, Gareth Stace, said:
“Although the Energy White Paper was first announced in response to the Energy Cost Review, it fails to address just that – energy costs. This is another huge missed opportunity for the Government to deliver competitive electricity prices for British industry.
“UK steel producers face significantly higher electricity prices than their immediate competitors, paying 62% more than steelmakers in Germany and 80% more than in France. This does not just damage the sector’s competitiveness and ability to attract investment, it is also a fundamental barrier to decarbonising steel production in the UK, raising the costs considerably of doing so.
“The sector has set out measures to lower uncompetitive prices for the last four years, and these should have been included in the White Paper to provide the steel sector with a foundation to thrive in a post-Brexit market and as a route to Net Zero steel. It is extremely frustrating and disappointing that this opportunity was not seized.
Roy Rickhuss CBE, General Secretary of Community, said:
“We have been pressing the government for years to take action on energy costs and to give our steel industry the support that it needs. It is extremely disappointing and a missed opportunity that the government is yet to address the impact of energy costs in the White Paper.
“Working with UK Steel, steel unions, employers and MPs we will continue to press the government for a detailed plan on energy costs to enable a level playing field, secure jobs and a sustainable future for our industry.”